A robbery gone awry after a dice game in West Berkeley left one man dead and a child with a bullet wound to the face in early September, according to court documents released Tuesday afternoon by authorities.
Police have charged an Oakland man with the Sept. 8 murder of Anthony Medearis Jr., and say the man was also responsible for the shooting that killed 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine at a slumber party in Oakland on July 17.
On Tuesday, authorities announced that two Oakland men, 27-year-old Joseph Carroll Jr. and 22-year-old Darnell Williams Jr., are believed to be responsible for Carradine’s death. Carroll, said police, is the cousin of Jermaine Davis. (His brother, 23-year-old Coleon Carroll, is currently in jail facing charges along with a second defendant for the shooting death of Gary Ferguson Jr. in Berkeley in 2010. The Carroll brothers have been reported by authorities to be ringleaders in the West Berkeley-based Waterfront gang.)
But Medearis’ shooting in Berkeley in September does not appear to be, authorities said, a gang killing.
According to court documents, Williams was at a dice game in Berkeley on Sept. 8 with his 7-year-old nephew when he “decided to rob another male present” at the game, in the 1400 block of Eighth Street at Camelia Street. At 5:35 p.m., police wrote that Williams texted 28-year-old Laquana Nuno to say he was “about to commit a robbery,” and asked her to come pick him up. Nuno agreed, police said.
At 5:40 p.m., police said Williams tried to rob Medearis, and shot at him in the process: “Medearis attempted to flee,” but Williams chased him “and continued to shoot at him.” Medearis was struck by a bullet in the torso. He was taken to Highland Hospital for treatment but was later pronounced dead from his injuries.
Williams’ 7-year-old nephew was also shot during the robbery attempt. Police wrote that a bullet fragment was embedded beneath the boy’s left eye; he was treated at a hospital and medical staff removed the fragment.
After the shooting, police wrote that Williams tried to flee the area on foot. Officers responded to the scene quickly, posing an obstacle to his escape, according to court documents. Williams called Nuno several times to arrange a pick-up. They eventually managed to meet up, after 6 p.m., but police in the area tried to stop the vehicle. There was a short car chase, then police said Nuno pulled over to let Williams out of the car.
He fled on foot and Nuno drove away; police eventually found Williams hiding in a nearby shed, and arrested him in the 1200 block of Kains Avenue. Police noted in their report that Williams had been convicted in 2010 in Alameda County for assault with a deadly weapon.
Williams has been in custody since Sept. 8, held on parole violation, but was not charged with the Berkeley killing until Tuesday. Berkeley Police had previously said they had no updates in the case that they could release, and did not respond to multiple requests for information Tuesday.
Berkeley links to Oakland killing
The charges became public Tuesday when Alameda County law enforcement authorities and officials announced the results of their investigation into the high-profile killing of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine on July 17.
According to court documents, the shooting that killed Carradine, which also wounded two children and a grandmother, was retaliation for a shooting that same day in Berkeley that killed Jermaine Davis.
Police wrote that Davis was killed just before 7 p.m. in the 1800 block of Derby Street: “Friends, family, and associates of Davis quickly focused their attention on an adult male … who they believed killed Davis.”
The man who was targeted in the subsequent attack is identified only as “John Doe” in court documents. Police said that Davis’ cousin Carroll, Williams — who was identified by police as a friend of Davis — and other unnamed coconspirators met up at a home in East Oakland, then “armed themselves with firearms.”
Police said the group then determined that “John Doe’s” children and their mother lived in the 3400 block of Wilson Avenue. At 11:10 p.m., police said Williams rang the doorbell on Wilson Avenue. He waited outside, pointing a firearm at the door, according to authorities. As the children began to open the door, he fired numerous shots at them, then fled the area. Police said Williams later admitted to witnesses that he committed the shooting.
That same night, police said Carroll went to the home of “John Doe’s” mother in Antioch, where he hid outside and waited for John Doe. Carroll ultimately confronted the man at a gas station in Antioch; no further information about that interaction was provided.
Police said Carroll, Williams and others “continued their attempts to locate and kill John Doe” after the shooting in Oakland.
A history with gang ties
In July 2009, Joseph Carroll and his younger brother, Coleon, were arrested along with a third man as part of a sweep of five Bay Area cities in a coordinated crackdown on gang violence in the East Bay. Police said at the time that the three men were “ringleaders” of the Waterfront Gang, so named since they lived near the water and were linked to many violent crimes.
In recent times, little information has been available from the Berkeley Police Department regarding gang activity within the city. But, in 2009, a series of high-profile shootings between Waterfront gang members and members of a North Oakland gang brought the issue into the public eye.
One of the incidents involved a car chase after a shooting that killed Davis’ brother, Charles, who was known to friends as “Chill”; two bystanders were killed during the chase, and authorities said that it was, in fact, Jermaine Davis who had been the intended target in that shooting. Jermaine Davis was killed in July shortly after a jury handed down murder charges in connection with the 2009 incident, though a family friend said he did not believe Davis’ shooting was retaliation for that verdict. According to people who knew him, Davis had turned away from the gang lifestyle and was focusing more on helping keep his family’s younger generation in line.
The Alameda County district attorney’s office has charged Williams and Carroll with murder and attempted murder in the Oakland case.
Williams and Nuno have been charged with murder in the killing of Medearis. Nuno has also been charged as an accessory after the fact for allegedly trying to help Williams escape from police after the robbery attempt and shooting.
Authorities said Tuesday in a prepared statement that Oakland Police Department homicide investigators partnered with the department’s gang unit, as well as the Berkeley Police Department, the state Department of Justice and the district attorney’s office, to conduct a long-term investigation into the Carradine case.
During the investigation, said authorities, Oakland investigators also developed information that several related suspects were conspiring to commit an additional murder, which officials said the department was able to prevent.
This week in West Berkeley, officials and members of religious and community groups have planned a public procession to speak out against violence and recognize several of this year’s homicide victims, including Anthony Medearis.
‘Ceasefire Walk Against Violence’ comes to West Berkeley (10.01.13)
Relatives remember Berkeley shooting victim ‘Lil Tone’ (09.10.13)
Man dies after shooting in West Berkeley (09.08.13)
Murdered man was brother of man killed by gangs in 2009 (07.18.13)
Breaking: Man shot and killed on Derby Street in Berkeley (07.17.13)
Berkeley community remembers teen slain in Oakland (05.08.13)
Berkeley police make second arrest in murder (11.01.10)
Shooting on Alcatraz Avenue (10.30.10)
Berkeley police arrest man suspected of murder (10.28.10)
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