A 16-year-old boy was charged with murder today for the shooting death of off-duty paramedic Quinn Boyer in the Oakland hills earlier this month, prosecutors said. Christian Burton, of Oakland, who was arrested at 8 a.m. Tuesday, was scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland this afternoon. He is being charged as an adult. In addition to murder, Burton faces a special-circumstance allegation that he murdered Boyer during the course of a carjacking, which could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted. A total of six juveniles have been charged in connection with Boyer’s death, but Oakland police Officer Phong Tran said in a probable cause statement filed in court that authorities believe Burton is the person who shot Boyer.
Tran said Burton was linked to the killing through physical evidence and witness statements and, after he was arrested, “he provided an admission of his involvement in the shooting death of the victim.” Boyer, 34, had worked as a paramedic for five years, the last two for Santa Clara County Ambulance. He was shot while driving on Keller Avenue just below Skyline Boulevard shortly before noon on April 2 and crashed his car down a ravine in the 5200 block of Keller Avenue. He died two days later. Boyer, who grew up in Oakland, was in the city the day of the shooting to take his father to a medical appointment. He was a graduate of Sonoma State University, the Santa Rosa Fire Academy and the Foothill Paramedic Program, and is survived by his wife and family. Prosecutors said the other boys in custody, who range in age from 13 to 15, have been charged in juvenile court with multiple felonies, including murder, for their alleged roles in the crime. Their names have not been released because they are not being tried as adults. Tran said Burton and the other five teens saw Boyer in a parking area at Keller Avenue and Hanson Street, and that Burton and one of the other youths approached him “with the intent to forcefully take his vehicle.” Burton then allegedly shot Boyer during the attempted carjacking, Tran said.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in a statement, “This senseless murder has shocked the community of Oakland as well as all of us who work in the criminal justice system.” She said, “Mr. Boyer, a paramedic, dedicated his life to helping others. His brazen daytime killing at the hands of a 16-year-old armed with a gun is a tragedy on many levels. My office will ensure that justice is served.” Oakland police said one of the suspects was arrested Monday night and investigators, after working through the night, developed information that led to the arrest of four other suspects, including Burton, on Tuesday. They said the sixth suspect, a 13-year-old boy, was arrested Wednesday. In announcing the arrests of the first five suspects, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said Tuesday that the crime is part of what he described as “a disturbing trend in this city” in which juveniles as young as 13 have been involved in violent crimes. A funeral service was held for Boyer on Tuesday.
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