Highway Patrol officers took the stand and detailed their sleuthwork on how they found the alleged shooters in the Oakland freeway shooting of toddler Jasper Wu, describing an elaborate investigation involving jail calls, wiretaps, and even car advertisements.

It took 13 months between the 2021 Oakland freeway shooting of two-year-old Jasper Wu and the arrest of three suspects accused of shooting bullets on I-880 in rival gang gunfire, one of which took young Jasper Wu’s life. Those three suspects now face preliminary hearings for their trial in Alameda County Superior Court, and the Chronicle reports that California Highway Patrol officers took the stand to describe that 13-month investigation that resulted in the arrests of Trevor Green, Ivory Bivens and Johnny Jackson Jr.

A fourth suspect, Keison Lee, was himself killed in a drive-by shooting nearly one year to the day after Wu's shooting. It's not clear whether the date of Lee's killing was significant, or some sort of retaliation for fingering the other suspects.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer Derek Hatzenbuhler testified that the day Wu was shot, Lee checked himself into SF General with his own gunshot wounds, which led to suspicion that there was a connection. When questioned by Hatzenbuhler, Lee said he was driving an “unknown vehicle from an unknown friend,” on I-880 when the shooting happened. Lee also claimed at the time that he didn’t know who shot him.

Surveillance video shown in court showed the Nissan Altima Lee and defendant Johnny Jackson Jr.  were suspected of driving being situated near the hospital, with bullet holes in it. They also showed separate police video from earlier in the day showing what CHP says is the same Nissan near 82nd Avenue in Oakland shortly before the shooting. The dark Infiniti that Green and Bivens were driving “pushed up” on the Nissan on I-880, according to Hatzenbuhler’s testimony, and also appeared near the 82nd Avenue location.

Hatzenbuhler also testified that he tracked down the online ad for the Infiniti that Bivens bought, and the seller confirmed that it was Bivens who bought it. CHP also offered up a wiretapped jailhouse call made the Bivens at about 11 a.m. on the day of the shooting, on which he says both Green and Bivens can be heard, as they are in the same car. Prosecutors also say they have a recording of Lee saying that Green and Bivens were the ones who shot him.

But the Chronicle reports those recordings are “scratchy and distorted,” which could pose problems for prosecutors when this trial gets underway. And the defense is arguing that Lee wouldn’t have known for sure who shot him, because he was shot from behind while driving — an argument the judge seemed to find reasonable.

There is additional controversy over the case, as Alameda County DA Pamela Price has made statements indicating she might not pursue the gang-enhanced charges that her predecessor Nancy O’Malley had brought against the suspects. Price's office has not yet made a final determination on that.

Related: Preliminary Hearings Begin In Trial of Fatal Freeway Shooting of Two-Year-Old Jasper Wu [SFist]

Image via GoFundMe