A student at Chabot College in Hayward was sentenced today to 53 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting a University of California at Berkeley student and wounding two other men after an exchange of dirty looks at a restaurant in downtown Oakland.
Dwayne Robinson, a 22-year-old Hayward man, was convicted two months ago of second-degree murder and three counts of assault with a firearm for the shooting outside the Dang Sung Sa restaurant at 2775 Telegraph Ave. on March 28, 2009, that claimed the life of 22-year-old Vincent Choi, who was two months away from graduating from UC Berkeley with a political science degree.
Prosecutor Tim Wagstaffe said Robinson was packing an illegal 9mm semiautomatic handgun as he dined with his friends at the Korean restaurant and they engaged in a “mean-mugging” exchange of angry looks with Choi and his friends. Wagstaffe said both groups “acted tough” and took their argument outside.
But the prosecutor said Robinson took the confrontation “to another level” by pulling out his gun and ordering Choi and his friends to go back inside the restaurant. When Choi and his friends refused to back down, Robinson twice said “last chance” and fired seven shots, hitting Choi twice in the chest and two friends, Michael Voong and John Lu, in the legs, Wagstaffe said.
One of the shots was fired at another man in Choi’s group, Quy Ngo, but he wasn’t harmed, according to Wagstaffe. Robinson then got in a car that was driven by a friend and as they went around a corner he shot five more shots at the restaurant’s bar but didn’t strike anyone, Wagstaffe said.
In sentencing Robinson at a tense hearing today at which six bailiffs provided security, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes said he “fired numerous rounds at unarmed people and it’s fortunate more people weren’t killed.”Choi’s mother, Whangyuel Choi of Oakland, sobbed uncontrollably in court today as she spoke of the pain she’s suffered by losing her son.
“I no longer can hear my loving son’s voice and can’t talk to him anymore,” Choi said. She said, “The defendant didn’t just kill my innocent son, the rest of the family is only living half of our lives and it’s like he killed us, too.”Choi said, “My family can’t smile anymore and we can no longer go skiing or golfing because those are things we always did with Vincent.
” She urged Rhynes to give Robinson the toughest sentence possible because “this kind of person cannot be on the street again and create a new victim like me.”Robinson, who was dressed in a yellow jail jumpsuit, wore glasses and sported a trimmed beard, didn’t speak at the hearing. During the trial, Robinson claimed that he acted in self-defense after somebody in Choi’s group pulled a gun on him. But Wagstaffe said no one in Choi’s group was armed.
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