Oakland, California

From the San Francisco Chronicle of May 15, 2007

Teen robbery suspect killed by E. Oakland liquor-store clerk

An East Oakland liquor-store clerk fired the fatal shots that killed a 17-year-old robbery suspect, whose accomplice has now been charged in his slaying, authorities said today.

Tommy Ray Spencer Jr., 17, of Sacramento was shot and killed at about 10 p.m. Friday by the clerk at the Oak Tree Market at 1601 28th Ave. Spencer is the second would-be robber in the past month to die at the hands of an Oakland store employee or owner acting in self-defense, authorities said.

Spencer and Juan Antonio Gonzalez, 23, also of Sacramento, went inside the market with the intent to rob the employees, said Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers.

After accosting the store clerk, Spencer fired two shots from a weapon, prompting the clerk to produce a gun of his own and fire at least one shot, Rogers said.

Spencer was killed, and Gonzalez fled, police said. The clerk, whose name wasn’t released, won’t face criminal charges because he acted in self-defense, Rogers said.

The investigation led Oakland police on Sunday to Sacramento, where Gonzalez fired shots at Officer Jason Lancaster — narrowly missing his head — before escaping, Rogers said. Gonzalez was arrested without incident on Monday after police tracked him down at a Sacramento motel.

Gonzalez was charged today with murder along with the special circumstance that the killing happened in the course of a robbery, making him eligible for the death penalty. Under California’s “provocative act”‘ rule, murder charges can be brought on a codefendant if a crime leads to a homicide.

Gonzalez was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon for shooting at the Oakland officer and two counts of being an ex-felon in possession of a weapon. Gonzalez has a previous conviction for receiving stolen property, authorities said. He is also being held on probation violations.

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