A prosecutor told jurors today that the man he believes fired 10 shots into a restaurant near Jack London Square in April 2011, killing two people and leaving five others wounded, did so to promote himself and his gang. In his closing argument in the trial of Clem Thompkins, 25, and Lamar Fox, 24, prosecutor Tim Wellman alleged that both men belong to the Lower Bottoms gang in West Oakland and that the purpose of the shooting at Sweet Jimmie’s — which occurred at about 12:40 a.m. on April 25, 2011 — was to avenge a confrontation they and several colleagues had had with a member of the rival Acorn gang at another restaurant nearby a short time earlier.
Wellman said that in the earlier incident, the Acorn member flashed a signal to indicate that he was armed with a gun — a gesture that he said Thompkins and Fox interpreted as a sign of disrespect. The prosecutor said Thompkins, Fox and several colleagues drove to Fox’s home to retrieve an assault rifle that Fox had stored there and returned to the Jack London Square area to look for the Acorn member. Thompkins and Fox couldn’t find the rival, so Fox then went into Sweet Jimmie’s to look for him, according to Wellman. Fox didn’t see the Acorn member, but he got into a confrontation with several people at the restaurant’s entrance, he said.
Thompkins, who had been waiting outside in a car, then came into the restaurant and opened fire because he wanted to support Fox in his altercation and possibly because several restaurant patrons had baseball hats with the letter “A” on them that might have indicated they were affiliated with the Acorn gang, Wellman said. One of the hats was an Oakland A’s hat and the other was an Atlanta Braves hat, he said. Thompkins and Fox then drove away, leaving behind a scene of “total devastation,” Wellman said. None of the victims in the shooting were gang members, he said. Killed were William Jenkins, 27, of Oakland, and 22-year-old Adam Williams of San Leandro, who both had young children. Williams was an after-school teacher’s aide at Peralta Elementary in Oakland.
Five other people were wounded in the shooting, four of them seriously, but they all survived. Defense lawyers for Thompkins and Fox will present their closing arguments later today. Fox’s lawyer, Deborah Levy, said in her opening statement that Thompkins was the shooter and that Fox didn’t know that Thomkins was going to start firing. But Thompkins’ lawyer, Darryl Billups, said witnesses who identified Thompkins as the gunman were mistaken. Billups said Thomkins and Fox are similar in appearance — they are both about the same size, and both had dreadlocks and were dressed in dark clothing at the time of the shooting, he said.
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