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A former private security guard who was convicted of attempted murder and other charges for shooting a man in the vicinity of Oakland’s Lake Merritt after trying to steal his cellphone won’t be going near the lake anytime soon. Daniel Alem, 28, was sentenced today by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes to 32 years to life in state prison for his attack on 27-year-old Natsagdor Gantumur in the 1500 block of Madison Street at about 11:10 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2010. Prosecutor Carrie Skolnick said Gantumur was texting on his phone and walking when Alem grabbed his phone and took off running.
Gantumur 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 and Gantumur gave a description of Alem to responding officers. Alem was arrested nearby, still wearing his empty gun holster around his waist, Sk, 12 hours later, she said. Alem said that he shot Gantumur in self-defense. He testified during the trial that Gantumur had dropped his cellphone, and that when he picked it up to return it Gantumur “went crazy” and attacked him. But Skolnick said Alem lied in his testimony and said jurors believed Gantumur when he told them that Alem had tried to steal his 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 after being robbed in 2008 and 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.
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. Alem’s lawyer, John Taylor, told Rhynes after she sentenced Alem today that he will be filing a motion for a new trial. The judge expressed surprise, saying that such a motion “typically is made before judgment is pronounced.” But she told Taylor, “Do what you need to do.” Taylor said Alem has also hired another attorney to appeal his conviction.
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