General Crime

* Daniel Alem Has Been Convicted of Attepted Murder for Shooting a Man Near Oakland’s Lake Merritt

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A former private security guard has been convicted of attempted murder and other charges for shooting a man near Oakland’s Lake Merritt after trying to steal his cell phone. According to prosecutor Carrie Skolnick, victim Natsagdor Gantumur was texting on his phone as he walked in the 1500 block of Madison Street at about 11:10 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2010, when 28-year-old Daniel Alem grabbed his phone and took off running. Gantumur, 27, chased after Alem and caught up to him about a half block away, but Alem pulled a semi-automatic handgun from under his clothes and pointed it at him, Skolnick said. Gantumur knocked Alem to the ground and a struggle ensued. While Alem was on the ground he fired eight shots at Gantumur and struck him once in the abdomen, Skolnick said. Gantumur pulled the gun away from Alem once he realized that it was out of ammunition but after he realized he had been shot and felt weak he gave the gun back to Alem, who fled the scene, according to the prosecutor. Residents in nearby apartment buildings heard the shots and called police.

Gantumur gave a description of Alem to responding officers. Alem was arrested nearby, still wearing his empty gun holster around his waist, Skolnick said. A civilian found the gun used in the shooting in some nearby bushes 12 hours later, she said. Alem said that he shot Gantumur in self-defense. He testified during the trial that Gantumur had dropped his cell phone, and that when he picked it up to return it Gantumur “went crazy” and attacked him.

Alem’s lawyer, John Taylor, told jurors in his closing argument last week that they should find Alem not guilty because “he didn’t do it.” But Skolnick said today that Alem lied in his testimony. She said jurors believed Gantumur when he told them that Alem had tried to steal his cell phone before shooting him. In her closing argument, Skolnick said Gantumur is much more credible than Alem. She said Alem lied when he said that he had never fired a gun before and was carrying a gun to protect himself because he had been robbed in 2008 and had been treated for a gunshot wound. Skolnick said she presented rebuttal evidence that Alem never reported a robbery to police and that the gunshot wound he suffered in 2008 occurred when he shot himself. “I found him to be arrogant and smug,” Skolnick told jurors. She said Gantumur was fortunate to survive the shooting but will carry scars from it for the rest of his life.

In addition to attempted murder, Alem was convicted of attempted second-degree robbery, assault with a semi-automatic firearm and various enhancements. He faces a potential term of life in prison when he’s sentenced by Judge Gloria Rhynes on Aug. 24.

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