A street gang member from Oakland is currently on trial for murdering a peace muralist, and has been forcibly ousted from court after a violent outburst.
The shooting took place on September 29 at 10:30 a.m., when Emeryville street artist Antonio Ramos, aged 27, was trying to photograph his anti-violence fresco in the 3500 block of West Street, under an Interstate 580 overpass.
The 4,000 square foot unfinished painting had actually been part of the Oakland Superheroes Mural Project, imagined by Oakland Middle School children, and spearheaded by the Attitudinal Healing Connect.
Ramos was working alongside his friends, capturing photos of an idyllic scene they had painted. That’s when he got involved in an argument with a passer-by, who was eventually identified as Marquise Holloway, aged 20.
The suspect went near the artist’s painting supplies, supposedly trying to steal his camera equipment, which had been placed nearby. When he was deterred, a confrontation ensued, during which he shot Ramos in broad daylight, and fled the scene shortly afterwards.
Even though the shooting victim was taken to the hospital immediately, he had been critically wounded and was pronounced dead on arrival.
An investigation was conducted by the Oakland Police Department, while Crime Stoppers of Oakland promised a $10,000 reward to anyone who could provide information facilitating the murderer’s arrest.
Eventually, Marquise Holloway, who was considered to be the main suspect in this case, was finally apprehended on Friday, November 20, and charged with special circumstance murder committed during an attempted robbery, punishable with life imprisonment.
While he admitted that he did indeed shoot the California muralist, the accused claims that it had all been by accident, and denies that he had been trying to steal the artist’s camera.
Apparently, Holloway, who has been linked with a well-known street gang, is also facing multiple charges of robbery, following other crimes which aren’t related to Ramos’ shooting.
On Tuesday afternoon, during the arraignment, as judge Gregory Syren was reading the defendant’s seven charges, Holloway had a savage outburst, riddled with expletives, which prompted courtroom deputies to remove him from court, as he struggled and screamed.
Meanwhile, the suspect’s supporters chanted “wartime” and cheered for him, one of them breaking a glass display cabinet, using her fist.
It remains to be seen how the rest of the trial will unfold, given that its beginnings have been so turbulent.
It’s not the first time that Oakland has been rocked by high-profile homicides and other similar incidents. In fact, the West Coast port city has been named by Forbes as the 3rd most dangerous in the United States, its violent crime rates having been estimated at a staggering 1,683 per 100,000 inhabitants.
This year however, numerous other cities, such as Chicago, Sacramento, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Washington have also experienced a surge in the number of homicides and other brutal incidents.
This may be linked to growing illicit drug trade, broader gun ownership and a greater percentage of repeat offenders, as well as to the fact that police officers have been less aggressive, so as not to be accused of having abused their power.
Image Source: The Pioneer Online