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An Oakland man pleaded not guilty today to 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, who was arrested on Sept. 5, is the second suspect to be charged 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. The first suspect to be charged was Clem Thompkins, 23, a reputed Oakland gang member, who was arrested on June 15, 2011.
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. Fox is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 26 for a pretrial hearing.
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. 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. At a hearing last Friday a judge dismissed a defense motion asking that the charges against Thompkins be dismissed. Thompkins is scheduled to return to court this Friday for a pretrial hearing.
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