General Crime

* Second Suspect Lamar Fox Is Charged In Fatal Jack London Square Shooting

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A second suspect has been charged with two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder for a shooting at a restaurant near Jack London Square in April 2011 that left two people dead and five people wounded. Lamar Lorice Fox, 23, was arrested in Oakland on Sept. 5 for the shooting at Sweet Jimmie’s at 311 Broadway at 12:42 a.m. on April 25, 2011, that claimed the lives of William Jenkins, 27, of Oakland and 22-year-old Adam Williams of San Leandro. Both were fathers of young children and Williams was an after-school teacher’s aide at Peralta Elementary in Oakland. Five other people were wounded in the shooting but survived.

Fox appeared briefly in Alameda County Superior Court today but his plea entry was delayed until Oct. 22 at the request of his attorney, John McDougall, who told Judge Carrie Panetta that he needs time to review “substantial police reports” on the high-profile case. Fox had been represented by the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office but an attorney with the office said today that it would have a conflict if it represented him so McDougall was appointed to defend him. Clem Thompkins, 23, a reputed Oakland gang member, was arrested on June 15, 2011, in connection with the shooting incident.

Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson ruled on March 14 that prosecutors produced sufficient evidence at a three-day preliminary hearing to have Thompkins stand trial on two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder as well as for acting to benefit a criminal street gang, using a firearm to cause deaths and great bodily injuries. Fox faces similar charges, including acting to benefit a criminal street gang. In addition, Fox is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, as prosecutors allege he has two prior felony convictions, one for second-degree robbery on Jan. 15, 2008, and one for selling controlled substances on Feb. 4, 2009. Oakland police said they believe the shooting at Sweet Jimmie’s was gang-related and they don’t think any of the seven victims were the intended targets of the shooting.

Oakland police gang expert Steve Valle testified during Thompkins’ preliminary hearing that Thompkins belongs to the Lower Bottom Gang in West Oakland and an investigation indicates that Thompkins carried out the shooting because members of the rival Acorn Gang flashed gang signs at Thompkins and his gang associates shortly before the shooting at Sweet Jimmie’s. Lt. Tony Jones testified during the hearing that an associate of Thompkins told police that the initial confrontation between the two gangs
occurred at Nation’s Giant Hamburgers, which is near Sweet Jimmie’s and is located at 317 Broadway, where an Acorn Gang member flashed a gun. Thompkins and his Lower Bottoms associates then drove to East Oakland to get a gun, Jones said.

According to Jones, the associate of Thompkins who spoke to police said several of his associates got into an argument with people inside the entrance of Sweet Jimmie’s a short time later and then Thompkins came into the restaurant and “started firing.” Jones said Thompkins’ associate was reluctant to talk to police and “was concerned about his safety” because he feared retribution from his fellow gang members. Prosecutor Ben Beltramo called the associate to the witness stand three times during Thompkins’ hearing but the associate refused to talk about the shooting all three times.

Valle testified that it appears that Thompkins and his Lower Bottoms associates felt “disrespected” by the Acorn members they clashed with and wanted “an immediate response by retaliation.” Valle said Thompkins “self-admitted more than once” to jail officials that he’s a Lower Bottoms member when he was arrested for previous crimes. But Thompkins’ lawyer, Dionne Choyce, disputed Valle’s assertion that Thompkins is a gang member. Choyce declined to comment on the case today. Thompkins is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 19 for a hearing on a defense motion to dismiss the charges against him.

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