An 18-year-old San Leandro man under investigation for a gang-related shooting in Berkeley last year that sent two teenagers to the hospital was arrested Friday carrying a machine gun loaded with dozens of armor-piercing rounds, according to court papers.
Charles Jones had the machine gun, loaded with 33 armor-piercing bullets, hidden under his clothing when the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force took him into custody at his San Leandro home at noon Friday, police wrote in court documents. Armor-piercing ammunition is banned in California.
Police have linked Jones to a gang-related shooting on Milvia Street in July 2018 as well as a gang-related freeway shooting on I-580 in Richmond in April 2018, according to court documents. DNA from Jones was identified on guns that were used in both of those shootings, police wrote.
Police had already made two arrests in connection with the shooting on Milvia Street, but charges were never filed, according to court records online.
On July 28, 2018, police responded to the 2800 block of Milvia Street, near Stuart Street, just before 9 p.m. following reports of gunfire. Officers found casings in the street but no victims. A 19-year-old from Berkeley and an 18-year-old from Oakland — struck numerous times and left with injuries described as life-threatening — left the scene before police arrived. Witnesses told police the gunfire had come from a gray, newer-model Honda Accord, and surveillance video showed a similar vehicle fleeing the scene.
Police said the victims are known to associate with South Berkeley gangs, while the alleged shooters are members of the Waterfront “Babas” gang in West Berkeley. The two groups have been engaged in a feud in recent years.
Three days after the Berkeley shooting, Alameda County sheriff’s deputies pulled Jones over driving a gray Honda Accord. Jones, who is a Babas gang member according to BPD, had other Babas gang members in the car with him. Deputies found a Glock pistol in a backpack during the stop. DNA from Jones was found on that pistol during a subsequent analysis, according to court documents. Ballistics testing showed it to be the firearm using during the shooting on Milvia Street, according to BPD.
The Oakland Police Department arrested Jones on a warrant in October, according to court papers. Authorities obtained a saliva sample from him at that time, and detectives asked him about the Berkeley gang shooting.
“When confronted with the fact that he was arrested for shooting two people, Jones reclined back in his chair and closed his eyes,” according to court papers. He asked for an attorney “after being confronted with further evidence.”
In addition to the gun from the Berkeley shooting, police wrote that DNA from Jones was also found on a gun discarded during a police pursuit last year. On April 17, 2018, as Oakland police were chasing a vehicle into San Francisco in connection with a shooting in Oakland on April 13, OPD recovered the Glock pistol.
The driver of that vehicle was Malik Harrison — who is facing charges in another Berkeley shooting — and the sole passenger, according to court papers, was Jones. Ballistics testing ultimately linked the discarded gun to the I-580 freeway shooting in Richmond on April 14, according to police, and DNA from Jones was on the gun.
In their early days, Babas gang members were committing crimes such as prowling, trespassing and burglary, but have since moved on to more serious crimes like robbery and assaults, BPD has said previously. Attempted murder and weapons violations have also been among their alleged violations, authorities say. There may be 20 members in the gang, who now range in age from their late teens to their early 20s, according to BPD.
The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Jones with possession of a machine gun, possession of an assault weapon — identified as an Uzi — and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm, according to court papers. He was also charged with possession of armor-piercing ammunition. All four are felonies.
Jones remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with a bail of $230,000. He is scheduled to enter a plea Friday at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.
[Correction: BPD said the federal task force that arrested Jones was run by the FBI. The FBI said after publication that it is just part of the task force, which is run by the U.S. Marshals Service. The story has been updated to reflect this. The charge related to the assault weapon has also been fixed.]