Cops: Editor’s killer confesses
By Harry Harris, Kristin Bender and Kelly Rayburn, Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — A 19-year-old handyman at Your Black Muslim Bakery admitted to police Friday night that he ambushed and killed Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey, investigators said.
Police said Devaughndre Broussard told them he killed Bailey because he was angry over stories the journalist had written about the bakery, its employees and leaders in the past.
Investigators said Broussard was also concerned about stories that he thought Bailey might be working on. Bailey had apparently been working on a story about the group and its finances, authorities said.
Broussard made the admission to Sgts. Derwin Longmire and Lou Cruz. Broussard had been arrested at his home Friday morning in the 1000 block of 59th Street, where police recovered the shotgun that they believe was used to kill Bailey the day before.
Apparently Broussard had found out where Bailey lived and before the killing Friday morning had gone to the newspaper offices to see if he was there. When he found that Bailey had not arrived at work yet, he began driving around in a van looking for him and spotted him in the 200 block of 14th Street, where he confronted him on the street and shot him several times with the shotgun.
Spent shotgun shells found at the scene were matched to the shotgun recovered at Broussard’s residence, police said. Broussard had worked at the bakery as a handyman and occasional cook for eight months before leaving in March to find other employment. But when he could not find a job here turned to the bakery about a month ago and was given a post again, police said.
Broussard is currently on probation for a robbery conviction out of San Francisco. He is scheduled booked on suspicion of murder today. Six other people who were arrested in a raid at the bakery Friday morning were still being interviewed lateFriday night, but no one else was expected to be booked on murder charges.
Those arrested included Yusuf Bey IV, the son of the Black Muslim Bakery founders.
Those in custody Friday were arrested for past assaults, gun attacks and a kidnapping. Two others are still being sought by police. Lorna Brown, an Oakland attorney who has represented the Beys in the past, did not return calls for comment.
Bailey, 57, a former Oakland Tribune reporter, was walking to theOakland Post when he was gunned down at 14th and Alice streets about 7:25 a.m.
Walter Riley, an attorney for the Oakland Post, said Bailey had been working on a story about “the financial status of the organization” and the “activities of a number of people who were working in the organization,” including possible criminal activity.
Riley said the newspaper was unable to verify key details of the story and decided not to run it, possibly abandoning the article altogether.
Bailey was known for not shirking from any source, said Donna Ayo, a founder of the community group BARONS, or Brave Academic Rise of N’powered Students. Bridges, who knew Bailey for 14 years, said that included the Black Muslims.
“He was forthright and gave (the group) their due when they were doing positive things,” she said. “When they started doing negative things, things that harmed the community, he had to notify the community. … He made a decision.”
Ayo knew Bailey’s reporting had angered people affiliated with the Black Muslim Bakery.
“But they’re not above the board,” she said. “They (the Black Muslim Bakery associates) don’t get a pass.”
Late Black Muslim patriarch Yusuf Bey founded the bakery four decades ago. He built the organization on ideals of black empowerment, respect and self-reliance. In recent years, the group has been tied to murders, racism, sexual assaults on young girls and vandalism.
The bakery and its affiliated businesses occupy several storefronts along both sides of San Pablo Avenue near the Emeryville and Berkeley borders.
The Nation of Islam, a national organization for black Muslims, is not affiliated with the bakery, said Oakland Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan.
For two months, police were looking into the bakery at 5832 San Pablo Ave. and its connection to separate incidents of violence, including a number of killings, shootings, robberies and a kidnapping.
Members of the Bey family appeared to be distancing themselves from Yusuf Bey IV early Friday evening .
As of the past three-and-a-half to four years, the majority of the family was not involved in the bakery, said Shamir Yusuf Bey, son of the senior Bey, who died in 2003.
Speaking in front of the bakery’s shattered storefront window, Shamir Bey said his father ran the business legally for 34 years and that the situation does not reflect his father’s legacy of helping the downtrodden to become leaders.
“We appreciate all the support for our father over the years,” Shamir Bey said, adding that he and his “brothers” standing beside him in sharply tailored suits with stern expressions on their faces had no felonies or misdemeanors.
Shamir Bey, dressed in a black suit and white bow tie, refused to take questions but said a news conference will be held Monday.
During Friday’s predawn raid of the North Oakland bakery, more than 200 heavily armed police officers seized weapons from inside, spent ammunition from the rooftop and detained 19 people for questioning.
Police broke down doors and used stun grenades to disorient people to gain entry. No one was hurt in the raids, which began at 5 a.m.
Police also raided homes in the 1080 block of 59th Street and 900 block of Aileen Street, in Oakland, but it was not clear what they found there.
During the bakery raid, authorities also uncovered conditions so unsanitary that the Alameda County Health Department has closed down the eatery.
Police found filth and waste — including dead rats on the roof and rat droppings in the bakery — they believe were leaking into drainage lines, prompting them to call in Vector Control, the city’s code compliance unit, the state Department of Fish and Game and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office environmental crimes unit, said Lt. Paul Berlin. Fines for such violations can be up to $5,000 a day.
Police said they had probable cause arrest warrants for several men with ties to the organization but were still trying to determine if they were among those detained. Police said some of those detained had arrest warrants from other police agencies and parolee violations.
Police would not give specific details about the cases they believe are linked to the people associated with the bakery, but did say some were committed last year and earlier this year.
Two of the incidents are believed to be the predawn shooting deaths of two men last month within a few blocks of the bakery. One was the July 12 shooting of Michael J. Wills Jr., 36, who had addresses in both Oakland and Fremont. He was gunned down in the 6200 block of San Pablo Avenue.
Four days earlier, Odell Roberson Jr., 31, was shot to death in the 1000 block of 60th Street. Police suspected the homicides were connected because of the circumstances and similarities of weapons used.
At least one case possibly linked to the bakery involves the kidnapping several weeks ago of some women for whom a ransom was demanded before they were able to escape, sources said. One of the shootings possibly resulted from a love triangle, sources said.
Jordan said the warrants were obtained so that police could seek evidence needed “to further our investigations into these different crimes.”
“(The men named in the warrants) are very violent individuals who need to be in custody,” he said.
Officers from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, and police departments in Fremont, Hayward, Livermore and Alameda assisted with the raids.
Bailey’s death Thursday stunned the Bay Area, where he had been a prominent journalist for decades.
Bailey wrote about Your Black Muslim Bakery and founder Yusuf Bey for the Tribune when Bey faced prosecution for a number of charges stemming from an original allegation that he fathered the child of a 13-year-old girl.
Bailey’s articles mixed coverage of the allegations with lavish praise for Bey from his supporters.
Bailey also served as the news director at the East Bay’s black-oriented KSBT SoulBeat Television.
And some say Bailey had a tumultuous relationship with associates of the Black Muslim Bakery group.
A longtime friend who did not want to be named said the journalist got threats “all the time” from Your Black Muslim Bakery and its supporters when Bailey hosted a segment on the Soul Beat television show.
Many of the threats came during call-in time on Bailey’s show, and many were taped on the program.
Bey later came on Bailey’s Soul Beat segment, the friend said, and the pair seemed to have a better relationship after that.
Bailey wasn’t the only journalist to run afoul of the group. Stephen Buel, editor of the East Bay Express, said someone flung a brick through the window of the newspaper’s office in late 2002 following a series chronicling the dark side of the group. A reporter at the newspaper received threats after the paper printed a story about the death of Bey in 2003.
Bailey, released by the Tribune in 2005 for conflict-of-interest issues, began covering the group again shortly after taking over as editor of the Oakland Post this summer.
A memorial for Bailey, with flowers, notes and mementos was erected at the spot where he was gunned down. Community members and those who knew Bailey said he will be missed. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Staff writers Douglas Fischer, Angela Hill and Angela Woodall contributed to this report.