A fatal shooting in East Oakland on April 10 led to a cascade of retaliatory events, including an arson fire that killed a man and his baby daughter. And now, the man who turned himself in for the shooting is not being charged.
The Alameda County District Attorney's Office made a terse announcement Wednesday regarding their decision not file charges against the unnamed man who apparently implicated himself in the April 10 shooting of 25-year-old Dejoh Woods.
"After a thorough review of the evidence presented to us, we declined to file charges," said prosecutor Casey Bates in a statement to the East Bay Times.
Woods was fatally shot by the unnamed assailant inside Booker’s Grocery Liquor at 90th Avenue and Olive Street in East Oakland. The suspect, who reportedly has gang ties, got into an argument with Woods and shot him, later turning himself in to police. As the East Bay Times notes, though prosecutors did not clarify their reasons for declining to file charges, "in past cases self-defense has been a key component of the decision not to file charges in homicide cases."
On April 10, Woods' shooting came on the deadliest day Oakland has had in 2021, on the 100th day of the year — a day when three people were fatally shot in the city, and Woods became the city's 41st homicide of the year. It's been a violent few months in Oakland, but this month has been particularly chaotic, and several events stem directly from the liquor store shooting of Woods.
As KPIX reports, investigators believe that a shooting two days later, on April 12, at a liquor store in West Oakland, was directly related. In that shooting, at least two gunmen reportedly fired high-powered rifles into the store at 34th and Hollis streets, critically wounding a cashier.
On April 14, two nights later, someone set fire to Booker's Market, causing significant damage.
Then on April 17, one week to the day of Woods's killing at Booker's, someone set fire to the home of a cashier at the store, 37-year-old Esam Musleh. Musleh reportedly ran into the burning building to save his trapped one-year-old daughter, and both ended up perishing in the blaze. Investigators say this was a final act of retaliation for the death of Woods, even though Musleh was not involved in the shooting.
The fire on the 9500 block of Stearns Avenue, across from Bishop O’Dowd High School, occurred about 10 blocks from the location of Booker's Liquor.
A cousin of Musleh, Mohammed Alsamma, who also lived at the same home but was at work when the fire broke out, told KPIX, "We run from Yemen because of the war. We thought we are safe here, but death followed us to this place."
Investigators are offering a $40,000 reward for information in the arson case, which is now a homicide case as well.
As of Monday, Oakland had seen 46 homicides so far this year, up from 16 at this time last year.
Top image: Google Street View