The suspected driver in the drive-by shooting death of 3-year-old Carlos Nava in East Oakland last week was charged today with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder. Willie Torrence, a 22-year-old Oakland man, was arrested in Las Vegas Friday night and is expected to be extradited to Alameda County later this week to be arraigned.
Torrence was on parole for violating his probation for his previous conviction on illegal gun charges. Oakland Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said police believe Torrence was the driver in the shooting incident in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:10 p.m. Aug. 8 in which Carlos was killed and two adult males were wounded.
Police said they believe the shooting was gang-related and the two adult men were the intended targets in the shooting, as Carlos and his family had no connection with them. The suspected shooter, 26-year-old Oakland resident Lawrence Denard, was arrested in Pittsburg last Tuesday. Denard was arraigned on Thursday on one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. He is scheduled to return to court Aug. 29 to enter a plea.
Denard has prior convictions for grand theft and possession of a firearm by a felon. According to a probable cause statement filed in court by detectives, one of the men who was shot provided Torrence’s name when he was questioned at the hospital where he is being treated. Investigators also located an additional witness who identified the shooter as Denard.
Jordan said he does not know if the car that Torrence was using in Las Vegas is the same car that was used in the shooting last week. According to a probable cause statement filed in Alameda County Superior Court, Torrence gave a taped statement to Oakland homicide investigators denying any involvement in the shooting incident.
In addition to his prior conviction on illegal gun charges, Torrence also was convicted of robbery when he was a juvenile and declared a ward of the juvenile court system, according to court records. A private funeral for Carlos was held today at St. Bernard’s Church on 62nd Avenue in East Oakland, which is only a few blocks away from the site where he was fatally shot.
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