Robbery appears to have been the motive for the fatal shooting of the well-liked owner of a cellphone store in East Oakland on Wednesday night, police said today. Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said it appears that 50-year-old Wilbur Bartley was in the process of closing his business, Marcus Cellular at 9230 International Blvd., at about 7:20 p.m. Wednesday when he was confronted by one or two gunmen.
Watson said Bartley was shot during the confrontation, and was pronounced dead at the scene. “We’re treating this as a robbery-homicide,” Watson said. She didn’t disclose what, if anything, was taken from Bartley or the store. Watson said Bartley’s death “is a real loss for the community because the community knew him and loved him.”
She said Bartley gave Oakland Raiders tickets to kids who couldn’t afford to go to their games, and was passing out Halloween candy to children shortly before he was shot Wednesday night. Anthony Sheppard, 30, who has known Bartley for 14 years, said Bartley was “a calm, good-hearted guy” who would work with customers who couldn’t afford to pay their bills on time.
Sheppard said he is “very upset” about Bartley’s death. Sheppard said Bartley had two sons and lived on 96th Avenue, just a few blocks from his cellphone store. According to the store’s website, Marcus Cellular has been in business since 1996.
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