Oakland police on Monday announced three arrests in connection with a violent armed robbery attempt at a West Oakland gas station that ended with one of the suspects shot and the victim critically wounded.
The case made headlines last month because the victim was 52-year-old retired Oakland Police Captain Ersie Joyner, who ironically had been the city's lead on its pioneering Ceasefire strategy in the last decade. Joyner was approached by three individuals while gassing up his Porsche on the afternoon of October 21, at the Chevron station on Castro Street in West Oakland. One apparently flashed a weapon and another began looking into Joyner's vehicle, though it's not clear whether the intent was to rob Joyner of money and belongings, or if the thieves wanted the car as well.
Joyner was shot six times and was immediately rushed to surgery at Highland Hospital, where he remained in recovery until last week, as the Chronicle reported.
In surveillance video, Joyner could be seen drawing his own weapon on the group and firing at one of them before he himself was shot. The wounded suspect, who later died from his wounds, has been identified as 20-year-old Desoni Djuan Lamar Gardner of Vallejo. Gardner was a local rapper who performed under the name Lil Theze.
While only three suspects appeared in the surveillance video, including Gardner, there apparently was a fourth involved who remained in the getaway vehicle. Oakland police announced on Twitter that they arrested two individuals in Elk Grove, in Sacramento County, as well as one man in Houston, Texas, in connection with the attempted robbery and shooting. No further information was provided about the suspects, or when the arrests occurred.
It has been repeatedly noted that Joyner was lawfully allowed to carry a weapon, and that he can claim self-defense in California if he "reasonably believed" he was in imminent danger of being killed or badly injured, or if he was in danger of being the victim of a forcible crime, including robbery.
Gardner's mother, Trepania Williams, has since spoken out publicly saying that while her son should not have been robbing anyone, "But death was not the answer." As she told the Chronicle last month, "I understand my son was wrong, but he’s already been held accountable."
Gardner's older brother, Demazhe Gardner, also died due to gun violence in Vallejo in June 2020.
Update: Two of the defendants in the case were arraigned Tuesday, and now we're learning of the charges. As KRON4 reports, brothers Kemandre King and Marlon King of Elk Grove were charged with the murder of Desoni Gardner and the second-degree robbery of Joyner.
The getaway driver has been identified as Joshua Hayles, and he was arrested November 19 in Houston. He is now being extradited back to Oakland to be arraigned, and he is also being charged with murder and second-degree robbery.