Scenes from the aftermath in Oakland:
stories of victims, survivors and healers.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cold bodies, cold analysis, chilling irony

The immediate aftermath of the July 1st Oakland Wingstop double homicide has been chaotic and confusing. But it does appear now that the killer thought he was in danger, and assumed that the two men coming toward him in the back of the Wingstop restaurant were those by whom he felt threatened. They were, in fact, employees of the restaurant coming to check on him. He shot them both dead. His family says he had begun carrying a gun because people had been shooting at him. They declined to elaborate.

I was struck by several statements in a news item about the incident published in today's San Francisco Chronicle. One is a cold, instant analysis of the potential legal aspects of the killing. The commentator calls it a "fascinating case." Another is a comment by the accused killer's sister, referring to the gunman and his companion: "They came with the intention to eat. They were getting off work and unfortunately they picked the wrong spot to eat."


Names of the dead: Jose Santamaria. Kenneth Bradley. 

Here's a passage from today's story:

Family members of Gurley have told The Chronicle he opened fire while believing he was defending himself and a friend from street toughs who came into the restaurant to harm them. Gurley and his friend had worked guard shifts at a school construction site, Gurley's family said, and were wearing orange safety vests when they walked into the Wingstop.
After seeing one or two men they believed were about to do them harm, Gurley and his friend ran into the freezer in the back of the business, police said. When Santamaria and Bradley followed to investigate, Gurley opened fire, killing both victims, authorities said.
Gurley had told his friend, "The first person that comes in, we're just going to shoot," according to Gurley's mother, 51-year-old Lawana Gurley.
Both victims were wearing their uniforms, said Santamaria's girlfriend.
Legal expert Steve Clark said Friday that the unusual set of circumstances makes for a "fascinating case." He said the defense could conceivably argue that the case is one of manslaughter under the theory of "imperfect self-defense," in which someone overreacts and attacks a perceived aggressor when in fact the target intends no harm.
"The jury would have to decide whether that's reasonable. Even if you perceived an immediate threat, is it reasonable to use deadly force to quell that?" said Clark, a former Santa Clara County prosecutor who is now a defense attorney.
"If it's not reasonable, then it's not self-defense - it's imperfect self-defense, which reduces murder to manslaughter, Clark said. "But still, a firearm was used, so there's still a very significant penalty."
Relatives said Jamaine Gurley had no plans that night to kill anyone.
"They came with the intention to eat," said his sister, 33-year-old Kyesha Thompson. "They were getting off work, and unfortunately they picked the wrong spot to eat."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Free my potna jamaine man.. we all know he's not a killer..