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Sheriff expects more arrests in Orinda Halloween party killings

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

Five suspects arrested are Jason Iles, Shamron Mitchell, Devin Williamson, Lebraun Wallace and Jaquez Deshawn Sweeney. Photos by CoCoSheriff.

Shootings were result of rival gangs

By Daniel Borsuk

More arrests are expected to be made in connection with the Orinda Airbnb case where five people were shot and killed on Halloween night, Contra Costa County Sheriff David O. Livingston said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

Unable to provide further details, the sheriff said that five suspects had been arrested on Friday in connection with the Orinda shootings on Friday that had ties with two Bay Area gangs – the Page Street Gang of San Francisco and the Marin City Jungle Gang of Marin City.

Sheriff Livingston said he expects any additional persons arrested in the Orinda Airbnb case will likely have gang affiliations. He would not elaborate.

The five suspects under arrest are identified as:

  • Shamron Mitchell, 30, of Antioch. Mitchell was arrested on the charges of murder and conspiracy. He is being held without bail.
  • Lebraun Wallace, 28, of San Mateo. Wallace was arrested on the charges of murder and conspiracy. He is being held without bail.
  • Jaquez Deshawn Sweeney, 20, of Marin City. Sweeney was arrested on the charges of murder and conspiracy. He is being held without bail.
  • Jason Iles, 20, of Marin City. Iles was arrested on the charges of murder and conspiracy. He is being held without bail.
  • Devin Williamson, 21, of Vallejo. Williamson was arrested on the the charges of being an accessory. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

“Extraordinary cooperation among multiple law enforcement agencies led to these arrests and a small measure of justice for the true victims,” said Sheriff Livingston.

“We have video showing a number of people at the party had carried firearms and secreted their firearms in their pants once the shooting spree in the house had subsided,” the sheriff said.

Four firearms were recovered by law enforcement authorities at the crime scene, Sheriff Livingston said.

“We believe people at the party had intent to do harm at this party,” the sheriff said in reference to potential connections with other gangs in the Bay Area. “Additionally, evidence shows two of the deceased persons inside the house were themselves armed, which may have played a role in this tragedy,”

Those victims, who had possessed weapons, were Ramon Hill Jr., 24, of San Francisco/Oakland and Javin County, 29, of Sausalito/Richmond.

Other murder victims were Tiyon Farley, 22, of Antioch; Omar Taylor, 24, of Pittsburg; and Oshiana Tompkins, 19, of Vallejo/Hercules, according to the sheriff’s office. Five additional victims suffered gunshot wounds. One person jumped 30 feet over a balcony to escape the gunfire, said deputies.

“The blame rests specifically on the people who brought guns into the party, pulled the trigger and murdered someone. That’s who should have the blame in this case,” said the sheriff.

The sheriff said neither the Orinda police, the homeowner, nor Airbnb deserve blame in this case.

In the aftermath of the crime, Orinda Mayor Inga Miller said the city council is expected to consider tougher home rental ordinance proposals that would apply to Airb&b at Tuesday’s council meeting. “I want to thank the Contra Costa County Sheriffs Office and other local law enforcement agencies for the resources they have deployed into resolving this heinous crime,” said Miller

The Antioch Police Department, San Mateo Police Department, Vallejo Police Department, Marin County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshalls Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted in the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff in this case.

Persons with any information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600. For any tips, please email: [email protected] or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

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Antioch resident sentenced to over 11 years in prison for possession of child pornography

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

Investigation began with tips from concerned citizens

OAKLAND – Sonny Mitchell was sentenced today to 135 months in prison for possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and United States Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Thomas C. Edwards.  The Honorable Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Judge, handed down the sentence earlier today.

Mitchell, 45, of Antioch, pleaded guilty to the charge on August 16, 2019.  According to his plea agreement, Mitchell admitted to possessing and distributing to others, images of children as young as seven years old engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Mitchell used a social media platform to communicate with others and then distribute the images, which included videos and GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format).  In one video, an adult male voice is heard giving directions to two minors who were engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Mitchell also agreed he was subject to a minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment because of his conviction in 1999 for unlawful sex with a minor.

A federal grand jury indicted Mitchell on May 9, 2019, charging him with two counts of distribution of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1), and one count of possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B) and (b)(2). Mitchell pleaded guilty to the possession count and the distribution counts were dismissed at sentencing.

This investigation began when a member of the public called local police to report Mitchell’s transmission of child pornography using a social media platform.  In addition, during the course of the investigation, Mitchell was identified as the user of a social media account that had been reported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) as being used to transmit child pornography.  NCMEC had received a cyber-tip indicating that an individual was using a social media platform to send child pornography to other users.  Law enforcement eventually identified Mitchell as the user of the account transmitting the images.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Tigar sentenced Mitchell to seven years of supervised release.  The defendant will begin serving the prison term immediately.  In addition, Judge Tigar scheduled a hearing for January 24, 2020, to determine issues regarding restitution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan U. Lee is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Jessica Rodriguez and Kathleen Turner.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, and the Antioch Police Department.

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Five suspects including one from Antioch arrested for fatal Orinda Halloween party shooting

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

The five suspects arrested are (l-r) Jason Iles, Shamron Mitchell, Devin Williamson, Lebraun Wallace and Jaquez Deshawn Sweeney. Photos by CoCoSheriff.

Antioch Police assist in arrests

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Law enforcement agencies served Ramey arrest warrants and search warrants in several Bay Area counties this morning and arrested five suspects in connection with the Orinda shooting on October 31, 2019. (See related article)

The arrest warrants were served in the cities of San Mateo, Marin City, Vallejo and Antioch.

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff was assisted by the San Mateo Police Department, Antioch Police Department, Vallejo Police Department, Marin County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sheriff’s Office Detectives, assisted by multiple law enforcement agencies, have worked continuously on the investigation into the shooting that claimed five lives at a Halloween party.

The five suspects are identified as:

-30-year-old Shamron Joshua Mitchell of Antioch. Mitchell was arrested on the following charges: murder and conspiracy. He is being held without bail. According to an October 2008 Marin Independent Journal article, Mitchell, while a resident of Marin City, was one of three arrested for an attack on a family at a festival and “charged with committing the crimes as members of the ‘200 Block Young Hawgz,’ a reputed street gang operating in the 200 block of Drake Avenue, part of the Marin City public housing complex.”

-28-year-old Lebraun Tyree Wallace of the city of San Mateo. Wallace was arrested on the following charges: murder and conspiracy. He is being held without bail.

-20-year-old Jaquez Deshawn Sweeney of Marin City. Sweeney was arrested on the following charges: murder and conspiracy. He is being held without bail.

-20-year-old Jason D. Iles of Marin City. Iles was arrested on the following charges: murder and conspiracy. He is being held without bail.

-21-year-old Devin Isiah Williamson of Vallejo. He was arrested on the following charge: being an accessory. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

“Extraordinary cooperation among multiple law enforcement agencies led to these arrests and a small measure of justice for the true victims,” said Contra Costa Sheriff David Livingston. “Additionally, evidence shows two of the deceased persons inside the house were themselves armed, which may have played a role in this tragedy. We look forward to providing more information in the coming days.”

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600. For any tips, please email: [email protected] or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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During traffic stop, Antioch Officer confiscates fully loaded assault style weapon, makes arrest

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Officer Barrera and confiscated weapon. Photos by APD.

By Antioch Police

Last week, while working on patrol, Officer Barrera stopped a vehicle for vehicle code violations. The vehicle was occupied by 3 subjects, one of which was on parole for manslaughter and had an outstanding warrant. During a search of the vehicle, officers located a fully loaded assault style weapon without a serial number.

Great work by Officer Barrera who turned a traffic violation into the arrest of a wanted subject and took a dangerous weapon off the street.

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Antioch Police identify, U.S. Marshals arrest suspect for attempted murder in October shooting incident

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Avante Ridley. Photo by APD

D.A. files attempted murder, weapons charges against him

By Sgt. James Stenger #3604, Antioch Police Violent Crimes Unit (Investigations Bureau)

Antioch Police Detectives were able to identify 21-year-old Avante Ridley as the suspect in this case. On Friday, November 8, 2019, the U.S. Marshals located Ridley in the 4700 block of Shannondale Drive and took him into custody. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed attempted murder and weapons charges against Ridley, and he is currently in custody at the Contra Costa County Jail. (See related article).

On October 2, 2019 at 1:55 PM, a large group of juveniles and adults became involved in an argument in the 4800 block of Knollcrest Drive, near Black Diamond Middle School, shortly after school let out. An unknown male produced a gun and fired several rounds at the crowd and at least two times into an occupied vehicle. The 49-year-old, female driver of the vehicle suffered a graze wound to her leg, that did not require hospitalization. The Antioch Police Investigations Bureau are currently investigating the case in an attempt to identify and locate the suspect in this case.

No further information will be released regarding this case at this time. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Evans at (925) 779-6937, or the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch Police arrest second teen suspect in shooting murder of Oakley teen girl

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

By Sgt. James Stenger #3604, Antioch Police Violent Crimes Unit (Investigations Bureau)

On Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, Antioch Police Detectives took a second 16-year-old male into custody in the City of Brentwood for the murder of 17-year-old Alicia Belen “A.B.” Villa. The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office filed murder charges on both suspects. The suspects names cannot be released due to their age. (See related article).

On 11/5/2019 at 7:10 PM, Antioch Patrol Officers were called to the area of La Jolla Drive on the reports of several gunshots in the area. As officers responded, two victims arrived at a local hospital suffering from gunshot wounds. A 17-year-old female victim, later identified as Villa, succumbed to her injuries in the emergency room and a 17-year-old male was treated for a non-fatal gunshot wound. Antioch Police Detectives responded and took over the investigation.

On 11/6/2019, Antioch Police Detectives took a 16-year-old male into custody in the City of Oakley for this murder. It was determined this shooting occurred during an illegal drug transaction.

The name of the suspect cannot be released because of his age.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Gonzalez at 925-779-6923, or the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925)778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch School Board places $105 million school facilities improvement bond on March ballot

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Will benefit schools and affect properties in former Mello-Roos District

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Wed., Nov. 13, 2019 the Antioch School Board voted 5-0 to place a $105 million bond on the March 3, 2020 ballot to pay for improvements to schools in the former Mello-Roos District. The annual cost is estimated at $60 per $100,000 in valuation. So, owners of a home valued at $500,000 will pay $300 per year. Resolution 2019-20-17 Ordering a School Bond Election in SFID No. 2

The bond measure requires a 55% vote of approval to pass and if passed, will raise an average of $7,000,000 annually for 36 years.

“This makes sense. It just makes sense. As a new homeowner I’m a bit scared by the tax,” said Velma Wilson, who was the only member of the public to speak. “I think it’s really good what Antioch High has done with Measure B. So, to see those bonds doing what they’re doing…and our schools with their upgrades, I think this is really good for our school district. Kids like to go to school with good facilities.”

The board also voted 5-0 to approve a resolution creating the facilities district. AUSD Formation of SFID No. 2

The resolution reads as follows:

“The Antioch Unified School District has formed School Facilities Improvement District #2 in the area of Antioch previously impacted by Mello Roos assessments. The Mello Roos District was dissolved in 2016. The Mello Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 provided funds for the District to build schools during a period of rapid growth within Antioch Unified School District. The Mello Roos assessment helped pay for the construction Carmen Dragon Elementary, Diablo Vista Elementary, Jack London Elementary, Lone Tree Elementary, MNO Grant Elementary, Black Diamond Middle School, Dallas Ranch Middle School, Orchard Park K-8 School, Deer Valley High School, and Dozier-Libbey Medical High School.

This bond measure placed only before the voters in SFID#2 will provide funds to improve and maintain all of the schools within the former Mello Roos area. The funding will be provided over eight years with priorities set by the school board and monitored by an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee.

The Improvements shall consist of projects which: renovate classrooms, update school safety and security systems, improve technology, energy efficiency, upgrade science labs, modernize schools, and repair and replace roofs, and to qualify for state matching funds.

To meet all identified school facility needs, the District may complete projects using a combination of funding sources. These sources may include joint-use funds, contributions, developer fees, state and federal funds and any other available funds.

The specific projects authorized to be financed with bond proceeds are as follows. The projects are authorized to be financed at all current and future sites within SFID#2.

  • Update aging classrooms and District facilities to support high quality instruction.
  • Upgrade electrical, communications, safety and security systems.
  • Replace heating ventilation and air conditioning units as needed.
  • Upgrade plumbing and renovate restrooms.
  • Repair/Replace roofing systems.
  • Repair and replace damaged and uneven paving and concrete.
  • Improve accessibility to sites, classrooms and upgrade playgrounds (ADA).
  • Repair and replace floors
  • Test foundations for seismic standards and upgrade as needed.
  • Renovate, modernize and/or remodel kitchen, food service and multipurpose spaces.
  • Update and improve athletic fields and facilities.
  • Make the necessary changes to improve drainage systems.
  • Update technology infrastructure and computer equipment (paid for within its useful life).
  • Replace old classroom desks, chairs and other necessary furniture.
  • Remodel, replace and refurbish classroom interiors.
  • Replace all exterior walkway damaged canopies.
  • Add exterior lighting to improve campus safety.
  • Reconfigure parking areas to improve traffic flow and student safety.
  • Remove or replace aging portable buildings and classrooms with permanent construction.
  • Install dual pane windows to improve ventilation.
  • Replace underground infrastructure.
  • Install or repair playground equipment and play surfaces and structures.
  • Acquire and/or upgrade fencing to improve school safety.

Other Projects

  • Remove hazardous materials, such as asbestos, lead, etc., where necessary.
  • Address unforeseen conditions revealed by construction/modernization (such as plumbing or gas line breaks, dry rot, seismic, structural, etc.).
  • Other improvements required to comply with existing building codes, including the Field Act, and access requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Necessary site preparation/restoration in connection with new construction, renovation or remodeling, or installation or removal of re-locatable classrooms, including removing, replacing, or installing irrigation, utility lines (such as gas lines, water lines, electrical lines, sewer lines, and communication lines), trees and landscaping.
  • Rental or construction of storage facilities and other space on an interim basis, as needed to accommodate construction materials, equipment, and personnel, and interim classrooms (including re-locatable classrooms) for students and school functions or other storage for classroom materials displaced during construction.
  • All work necessary and incidental to specific projects described above, including demolition of existing structures.
  • Paint the interior and exterior of buildings.
  • Repair and replace damaged and uneven paving and concrete.
  • Provide classroom furniture and equipment as needed.
  • Improve school building safety and security.”

A request was made to Superintendent Stephanie Anello for a map of the new facilities district which was not included with the resolution. To see if your property is affected, please check the following report of parcels with streets listed in alphabetical order: Parcels for Proposed SFID 2

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Antioch Council agrees to spend $150,000 on list of items to help homeless

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Effort to wait on $100,000 of items until Unhoused Coordinator is hired fails

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday night, Nov. 12, 2019 the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to spend $150,000 from this year’s General Fund budget on seven specific ways to help the homeless. An effort by Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock to delay half of the items at an estimated cost of $100,000 until the Unhoused Coordinator position is filled failed. (See staff report, here: Funds for Homeless ACC111219)

Those items include spending $50,000 annually on what the staff report labeled as Quality of Life: dumpsters and “Sharps” containers for used needles at $5,000, portable toilets for $5,000, portable shower units at $10,000, laundry services at $20,000 and another $10,000 on miscellaneous items.

Another four items labeled Immediate Short-Term Housing, totaling $100,000 include motel services (vouchers) for $10,000, safe parking lots at a cost of $35,000, warming centers for $45,000, and another $10,000 on miscellaneous items.

During public comments, one speaker said, “I certainly think the $150,000 can be raised to $500,000. But, no options for long term solutions were selected until the unhoused coordinator is hired. What happened to housing, first? It’s a land-use issue. Not a consultant issue.”

The council then took up the item.

Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts was first to speak, saying, “We made some decisions and you had some estimates there, but they’re the same. I’m a little confused because we all supported them at the last meeting. I do think it’s critical we have someone on staff who can look at these issues…then look at, possibly, transitional housing.” (See related article).

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said, “On the first page we all agreed these are imperative, at the last meeting (referring to the list of Quality of Life items). My request would be we have the homeless coordinator to look into the (Immediate Short-Term Housing) needs. Safe parking lots…motel services. I’m not saying these shouldn’t be done.”

Councilman Lamar Thorpe then made a motion to allocate $150,000, and Motts seconded it.

Ogorchock then asked to split them, to have the first five items totaling $50,000 from the items totaling $100,000, to wait for a homeless coordinator to “come back to do these things. We have no staff person to look into these things. Are we going to just put the money into an account and let it sit there?”

Motts then said, “As I remember we did agree to do all of these…before the unhoused coordinator was in place.”

“You two voted against the homeless coordinator, then we laid these out to accommodate you,” Thorpe said responding to Ogorchock.

“Nobody from staff has been delegated to do these jobs,” Ogorchock stated.

“I too remember discussing this,” Councilwoman Monica Wilson said. “It sounds like we’re about to discuss ourselves out of doing something. We do have the flexibility to spend what we want.”

“The number is $150,000 and we don’t take that lightly and these are the categories,” said Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs. “We do want to get these programs started. We can start coordinating to direct these services to Antioch.”

Mayor Sean Wright then asked for a roll call vote and it passed unanimously.

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