The suspected driver in the drive-by shooting death of 3-year-old Carlos Nava in East Oakland on Aug. 8 was arraigned today on one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder. Willie Torrence, a 22-year-old Oakland man, was arrested in Las Vegas on Aug. 12 and was finally extradited to Alameda County this week after a lengthy delay.
Torrence was on parole for violating his probation for a previous conviction on illegal gun charges. Torrence was scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m. today, but Alameda County sheriff’s officials moved up his arraignment to this morning without notifying Torrence’s family.
About 15 of his family members and friends who came to the Wiley Manuel Courthouse at 2 p.m. were upset when a bailiff told them that Torrence had already been arraigned this morning. They declined to talk to reporters about the case. Oakland police believe Torrence was the driver in the shooting, which occurred in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:10 p.m. Carlos was killed in the shooting and two men were wounded.
Police said they believe the shooting was gang-related and that the two men were the intended targets in the shooting, as Carlos and his family had no connection to them. The suspected shooter, 26-year-old Oakland resident Lawrence Denard, was arrested in Pittsburg on Aug. 9. Denard has prior convictions for grand theft and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Denard was arraigned on Aug. 11 on one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. He was back in court on Monday to enter a plea but his plea entry was delayed until Sept. 12 at the request of his attorney. It’s expected that Torrence also will return to court at that time.
According to a probable cause statement filed in court by detectives, Torrence gave a taped statement to Oakland homicide investigators denying any involvement in the shooting. 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.
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