An August fatal shooting shooting of beloved Oakland dentist Lili Xu initially spurred hate-crime speculation, but it turned out to be a suspected murder-for-hire by her boyfriend, and now that boyfriend has taken his own life in jail.
When 60-year-old Oakland Chinatown dentist Dr. Lili Xu was shot and killed in broad daylight in late August in the Little Saigon neighborhood, the murder sure seemed consistent with a slew of hate crimes against elderly Asian women that had plagued Oakland, and the larger Bay Area. But the investigation into Xu’s killing took a surprising turn Friday, when Xu’s 73-year-old longtime boyfriend Nelson Peter Chia, and the suspected gunman, 35-year-old Hasheem Bason, were arrested on murder-for-hire charges.
Now the case has taken an even more unexpected turn, as KRON4 reports that Chia took his own life Friday afternoon in Santa Rita Jail.
BREAKING UPDATE: Nelson Chia, 73, arrested by @oaklandpoliceca in the shooting death of his girlfriend Lili Xu, has died by apparent suicide while in custody at @ACSOSheriffs jail, source confirms to @KTVU. 5,6 p.m. @KTVU pic.twitter.com/OxQKgh0Nm0— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) October 28, 2022
“Jail medical staff and emergency medical responders immediately began life saving measures but unfortunately, their efforts were unsuccessful,” the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “It appears Chia took his own life in the single occupant holding cell. There are no indications of foul play or any other suspicious activities.”
Obviously, there is a lot of vagueness in that statement, particularly in regards to how Chia managed to take his own life while in custody. But KTVU’s Henry Lee is reporting that Chia hanged himself.
Knowing what we now know, it’s quite eerie watching the above KGO interview with Chia shortly after Xu was shot and killed. He plays the victim here quite well, often barely audible through tears, as he tells KGO “I appreciated and loved her,” “she was very special,” and “people trusted her and her work ethic.” As seen in the security video above, Chia was with Xu when she was shot, and the attacker showed no interest in doing any harm to Chia. The Chronicle reports that “Three law enforcement sources confirmed that Bason was allegedly hired to shoot Xu.”
Chia had been scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning. According to Santa Rita Jail records, Bason does not show an arraignment date, but is being held without bail on first degree murder charges.
If you are in crisis, text "BAY" to 741741 for free, 24/7, confidential crisis support from Crisis Text Line. And if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you or they should call the San Francisco Suicide Prevention crisis line at 415-781-0500.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.
Related: Two Arrested In Slaying of Oakland Dentist; One Is Victim's Longtime Boyfriend [SFist]
Image: Oakland Police Department