Two convicted robbers were charged Friday for their roles in the death of a man who died after trying to get back his laptop computer, which was stolen Tuesday while he worked in a Starbucks in Oakland’s Montclair district. The 34-year-old victim Shuo Zeng was an employee of Emeryville-based Aspera on Hollis.
The robbery in the 2000 block of Mountain Boulevard, shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, ultimately claimed the life of Zeng.
He was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries but died there a short time later, according to police.
The following day, the Alameda County Sheriff’s office announced the arrested 22-year-old Byron OJ Reed Jr. of San Francisco (R) and 21-year-old Javon Lee (L).
Reed was with murder and the special circumstance of committing a murder during a robbery. Lee was charged with involuntary manslaughter and both men were charged with second-degree robbery.
According to Zeng’s LinkedIn profile, he was a native of China, graduated with a degree in physics from Sichuan University and got a
doctorate at Kansas State University.
Zeng’s profile indicated that he moved to the Bay Area in 2015 to work for Aspera, a data transport and streaming technology company owned by IBM, as a research scientist and engineer.
Surveillance video shows two individuals snatching a laptop from Zeng and then fleeing into a waiting vehicle, Oakland police Officer Gerald Moriarty wrote in a probable cause statement.
Zeng chased the suspects to their getaway vehicle and a struggle ensued but he was hit by the vehicle and ultimately succumbed to his
injuries, according to Moriarty.
Witness statements and a review of surveillance camera footage indicated that Lee was one of the people involved in taking Zeng’s laptop and
his actions facilitated the robbery and murder, Moriarty wrote.
Witness statements and surveillance footage also showed that Reed was the driver of the getaway vehicle, Moriarty said.
Reed and Lee were arrested in the 9400 block of MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland at 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to police.
Alameda County prosecutors allege that Reed was convicted of second-degree robbery in San Francisco on Nov. 22, 2017, and Lee was convicted of second-degree robbery in San Francisco on Feb. 27, 2017.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged Byron OJ Reed Jr., 22, of San Francisco, with murder and the special circumstance of committing a murder during a robbery. Javon Lee, 21, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and both men were charged with second-degree robbery.
Reed and Lee were both arraigned at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland on Friday. Lee’s bail was set at $255,000 and Reed is scheduled to return to court on Monday to be assigned attorneys and possibly enter pleas.
Here in the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland this morning where the community has put together a memorial for Shuo Zeng, a man who died trying to retrieve his laptop from thieves outside of this Starbucks. A memorial event will be held later this morning. @KQEDnews pic.twitter.com/9rMlHYSxbs
— Kate Wolffe (@katewolffe) January 5, 2020
A public memorial for Zeng has been established by the community and a vigil was held for him on Sunday with over 150 people in attendance.
Local Councilmember Sheng Thao has proposed an ordinance to ensure that would ensure police are more present in the neighborhood. She said she will send the legislation to Oakland’s Rules Committee when councilmembers are back in session on Jan. 15.