General Crime

* Antioch Man Willie Morris Clay, 42, Allegedly Confesses To Fatal Shooting Of Gary Lloyd Townsend

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An Antioch man has been arrested after allegedly telling police he committed Monday’s fatal shooting in retaliation for his son’s death in an Oakland shooting several years ago.Antioch olice announced today the arrest of Willie Morris Clay, 42, following an investigation into the death of Gary Lloyd Townsend, 46, on Monday evening. Clay, who said he had known the victim for decades, is facing charges of murder, child endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm, with enhancements, according to Antioch police Lt. Leonard Orman. The child endangerment charges stem from Clay’s effort to have his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter dispose of his murder weapon, according to police.Clay told officers that he saw Townsend, also an Antioch resident, on his motorcycle at a strip mall at 2301 Buchanan Road Monday and shot him several times. Once the victim and his motorcycle fell to the ground, Clay said, he shot him several more times.Police found Townsend lying dead next to the motorcycle at about 5:45 p.m. Monday. Witness statements led officers to a nearby home where the suspect was believed to be hiding. Soon after authorities set up a perimeter around the house, the 14-year-old girl left the home through the rear yard, carrying a gun believed to have been used in the shooting, Orman said. Police detained the girl and Clay later surrendered without incident outside the house. Investigators say she was not involved in the shooting.After his arrest, Clay confessed to investigators that he shot Townsend. Police investigations show the two men’s history goes back to the 1990s. At one time Clay belonged to a motorcycle club Townsend founded, and both men were arrested for distributing drugs in Alameda County in the 1990s, according to Orman. Clay has stated that he blames Townsend for his financial troubles during that period.Clay left the motorcycle club in 2006 on bad terms, police said. Soon after, his 19-year-old son Clay Ward was killed during a drive by shooting in Oakland. Ward received information that Townsend had killed his son, according to police.From then on, Ward told officers, he carried a gun with him every day hoping for a chance to avenge his son’s murder.Antioch officers are still investigating Clay’s motives, and are presenting the case to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

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