Gun that killed Bailey tied to another crime
By Harry Harris and Cecily Burt, Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — The shotgun police said was used by a member of Your Black Muslim Bakery to kill Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey on Aug. 2 also was used in a failed June 2005 assassination attempt on a former high-ranking member of the bakery organization, authorities confirmed Wednesday.
Police also say the same shotgun was used last December to blast out the windows of a car belonging to the ex-boyfriend of the girlfriend of Yusuf Bey IV, the now jailed leader of the bakery empire. Bey IV, 21, ascended to power after his older brother, Antar Bey, 24, was killed in October 2005 during an attempted carjacking.
Linking the shotgun to the attack on John Bey is the first public confirmation of the long-held suspicion there was a fierce internal battle for control of the lucrative organization between the bakery’s old guard and younger family members.
Investigators suspected at the time that bakery members had been involved in the attempt on John Bey’s life, and when they suspected the owner of the car in last December’s attack also was targeted by bakery members, they compared the recovered shotgun shells and found a match.
Self-described bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, 19, is charged with Bailey’s slaying. Homicide investigators said he has confessed to ambushing and killing the journalist because he was angry at him for stories he had written and was planning to write about the bakery organization.
Broussard is expected to enter a plea to the charges today. His attorney has claimed the confession was coerced and his client was put up to it by Bey IV, allegations investigators have strongly denied.
Even though Broussard was arrested with the shotgun, he has said he was not involved in the car shooting or the attack on John Bey, who was wounded several times outside his Oakland hills home, police said.
Police said they are inclined to believe him, primarily because he apparently was not part of the bakery organization at the time of the two earlier incidents. Even though police have the weapon, no suspects have been identified in relation to the assassination attempt on John Bey or the car shooting.
The weapon connection comes as no shock to John Bey, once a respected member of the Your Black Muslim Bakery empire built by the late-Yusuf Bey and manager of UD Security, the security outfit under the bakery’s umbrella of businesses.
“That’s so much better that they know (about the connection). It’s unfortunate of course, but it’s more they can put on these guys,” John Bey said. “To me, that’s the important thing. I really want them to pay for what they did, and then some.”
The leadership struggle erupted after founder and spiritual leader Yusuf Bey died in 2003. Besides acts of violence, bakery members have been accused of fraud and identity theft. A bankruptcy judge has ordered the bakery at 5832 San Pablo Ave. and other properties put up for sale to pay off creditors.
John Bey watched the struggle for power among Yusuf Bey’s followers after the patriarch died in September 2003. And he was not quiet about his suspicions regarding who was behind the disappearance and murder of Waajid Aljawaad Bey, 51, Yusuf Bey’s trusted confidante who took over the empire after the elder Bey’s death. John Bey was one of the last people to see Waajid Aljawaad Bey alive, and he was the one who reported him missing to police.
John Bey took control of the security company and he and his employees mostly stopped going to the bakery for meetings. He moved his family from a building owned by the bakery to a relative’s house on Indian Way in the Oakland hills. Yet the attack on his own life several months later caught him by surprise.
John Bey’s Montclair neighborhood was barely stirring when he said good-bye to his wife, walked down the driveway and settled into the driver’s seat of his car about 6:30 a.m. June 17, 2005.
The first shot came just as he turned the key in the ignition. The impact blew apart the door panel and Bey felt a searing pain in his leg. The noise sounded like a pop; he thought for a crazy instant maybe it was a firecracker.
Then the blasts came faster and louder. The second one splayed a spider web of cracks in the driver side window. The next one sent the glass flying.
It seemed like everything was in slow motion. I have to get the hell out of here, he thought.
Bey jumped out of his car and ran in the opposite direction, yelling and screaming to get the neighbors’ attention. He had 20 yards to get to the end of the block.
He ran right past the empty SUV several gunmen had parked at the end of the street. He cut between the houses on paths that connect one hilly street to another in Montclair. He was trying to double back to his own street when he fell and slid down the hill on his stomach, yelling to wake the neighbors.
He rolled across the street and ended up in a thorny bush and for a desperate moment his belt stuck on a hook in the fence, his would-be assailants driving toward him. Bey removed the belt, held up his suit pants and ran into a back yard, yelling at somebody, anybody to call the police.
“I was banging on the French doors and this older lady comes to the door, I had blood on my face and she wasn’t sure, so I just sat down and faced that house, to see if they were coming for me,” Bey recalled.
The next thing he heard was police sirens.
Bey is circumspect when he mulls over why he might have been a target. He thinks people who controlled the bakery were upset they weren’t getting any money from the security operations.
“I feel this more or less validates everything we’ve been trying to get across from Day One,” he said. “We’re not finished yet but I feel more weight should be given to the things we said about the (bankruptcy and other illegal activities), and everything I’ve said since Feb. 27, 2004, when Waajid disappeared.”
John Bey survived his attack, but as soon as he got out of the hospital he and his wife packed a duffel bag, grabbed their kids and left town. His relative who owned the house on Indian Way had lived there for 30 years, but she never lived there again.
“I just want it to be resolved, and get Waajid’s murder solved, and we’ll deal with what happens after that,” he said. “I don’t want my children, my mother, my relatives, to be afraid to associate with us. I don’t want people to be worried.”
Whether Bailey was looking into a possible connection between those earlier shootings is not known. Homicide investigators were not sure of a motive when they first responded to the 200 block of 14th Street where Bailey had been gunned down.
But after finding three expended shotgun shells and hearing from Bailey associates he had been working on a story about the bakery organization, investigators immediately had police criminalists do a comparison between those shells and the ones recovered at the earlier shootings. They quickly learned the shells matched.
Police were already planning to raid the bakery and associated residences on Aug. 3, the day after Bailey was killed.
Police say they had no idea Broussard or bakery leaders were upset with Bailey before he was killed on Aug. 2. If he had been threatened by bakery members, there is no record he ever reported it to police.
Besides shotguns, police also were looking for a gun used in the murder of two men in July not far from the bakery as well as evidence in the kidnapping and torture of two women in May by suspected bakery members. Bey IV and two other bakery members were subsequently charged in the kidnapping.
Several guns were recovered in the raids, but the shotgun was the only one matched to any of the cases, Sgt. Lou Cruz confirmed.
Police are not sure why the shotgun was never disposed of and one investigator said it looks like “whoever needed the gun used the gun.”
Broussard was arrested climbing out the window of a duplex on 59th Street moments after he threw the shotgun out the window.
The gun believed used in the two July murders was not found at any of the sites raided by more than 200 Oakland police and officers from other agencies.
Later that night, Broussard confessed to Cruz and Sgt. Derwin Longmire that he killed Bailey and denied involvement in the other shotgun attacks.
He made the confession after meeting in an interrogation room with Bey IV, who had been arrested during the bakery raids in connection with the kidnapping.