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4.22.2010

oakland sucker punch attackers charged with murder

The two young men charged with beating Tian Sheng Yu to death (the "sucker punch slaying") in Oakland last week will be charged with murder, but not a hate crime: No hate-crime charge in sucker-punch slaying.

Lavonte Drummer and Dominic Davis appeared in Alameda County Superior Court this afternoon on charges that they murdered Yu, who was shopping with his son in downtown Oakland on Friday when they were accosted by the men. But they will not be charged with a hate crime:
There has been widespread speculation that the attack was motivated in part by race, as the two defendants are African American and Yu was a Chinese immigrant. Chief Deputy District Attorney Tom Rogers, however, said the suspects had been looking to take out their anger on anyone who happened along.

Drummer and Davis had just shared a bottle of Bacardi rum and were complaining about their lives, especially Drummer, who was "frustrated by personal circumstances," Rogers said.

The prosecutor added that Drummer was convicted as a juvenile of a sucker-punch attack on an African American man, and that both defendants were suspected as juveniles of robbing a white man.

In interviews with police, Drummer and Davis "both denied that this had anything to do with the person being an Asian," Rogers said. "This wasn't a knee-jerk decision on our part. We considered all the factors, the totality of the circumstances."
Wait, so you're telling me Tian Sheng Yu is dead because these two losers were mad about how shitty their lives were? Their lives are about to get a lot worse. Drummer and Davis, who turned 18 on Saturday, a day after the attack, have each been charged as adults. More here: Oakland men to be charged with murder for attack

It's random and senseless. I've heard from several people who are pretty outraged that this isn't being prosecuted as a hate crime. With the recent spate of violent crimes against Asians -- many of them elderly victims -- in the Bay Area, can you blame them for the concern?

Donations to the Yu family can be made to the Yu Family Foundation, c/o Metropolitan Bank, 250 East 18th Street, Oakland, CA 94606.