How Bay Area cops tied shootout at Sun Valley Mall to freeway gang shootout that killed 1-year-old Fremont boy

2 months ago The Mercury News

On the early afternoon of Nov. 6, 2021, Keison “Keke” Lee was pulling away from a friend’s house on 82nd Avenue in Oakland when something suspicious caught his eye. He called the friend and asked him to check his home security camera.

As the 82nd Avenue resident would later tell police, Lee was concerned by a dark gray Infiniti that appeared to have been scoping out the residence and just “pushed up on them.” The Infiniti appeared to be following the gray Nissan carrying Lee and Richmond resident Johnny Jackson toward Interstate 880.

It turned out that Lee’s suspicions were correct. As the Nissan approached the Filbert Street exit heading northbound on I-880, a gun battle broke out between Lee and Jackson and the occupants of the Infiniti. One of the bullets struck a Lexus, and fatally wounded 1-year-old Jasper Wu, who was just weeks away from his second birthday.

A split-second difference could have prevented the boy’s death; his family was traveling southbound on I-880 in the Lexus, and happened to cross paths with the two northbound vehicles at the exact moment someone fired a shot.

The shocking death of a toddler spurred a wide-ranging police investigation that eventually led to San Francisco and Contra Costa County, linking a mall shooting in Concord to the Oakland case and giving authorities enough evidence to file charges in Jasper’s death. This is the story — based on police and court records — of how Jasper’s alleged killers were caught.

After the shooting, police scoured the northbound side of the freeway for shell casings, hopeful that fingerprints on at least one of them would point them toward a suspect.

It would take days before police received their first solid tip indicating that the Nissan and Infiniti contained rival gang members engaged in a daytime shootout on a crowded freeway. And it would take more than a year before three suspects were arrested and charged: Jackson, 34, of Richmond; Trevor Green, 22, of Richmond; and Ivory Bivins, 24, of Vallejo.

By the time the arrests were made, Lee was dead. He was killed in a drive-by shooting, almost a year to the day after Jasper’s death, in the 800 block of 81st Avenue in Oakland.

Authorities allege that Lee, Jackson, and the 82nd Avenue resident — whom the Bay Area News Group is not naming because he was not charged in the incident — were members of a Bay Area gang known as Eddy Rock.  Green and Bivins are affiliated with a rival group known as Chopper City. Both gangs originated in San Francisco, but gentrification and rising costs of housing forced some members to relocate to other parts of Northern California, taking their rivalries with them.

Police say they first became aware of the gangs’ possible involvement thanks to an unrelated occurrence: A man named Ronnie Mitchell, in custody for alleged gun possession and a probation violation, picked up the phone at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and called the 82nd Avenue resident. Their conversation — monitored by deputies, as is legally allowed — included details about the freeway shooting and how “Keke,” later identified by police as Lee, had been shot in the back and wounded, while Jackson was uninjured.

With recordings of the jail call in hand, investigators were now convinced that Eddy Rock gang members played a role in the shooting. But the next big break would tie in the rival gang: While crime lab technicians found no fingerprints from shell casings on I-880, they were able to recover a woman’s DNA. The woman was a close relative of Green, the suspected gang member, and her name had come up in a similar shooting, in Contra Costa County, six months before Jasper was killed.

That shooting involved a May 24, 2021, incident at Sunvalley Mall, in which Green and the female relative spotted a man wearing an expensive chain entering a jewelry store; Green allegedly later returned to the mall, along with fellow Chopper City gang member Bivins, and opened fire at the man.

It took Contra Costa County authorities until March 2022 before they had evidence to charge Green and Bivins with attempted murder in the mall shooting. Bivins was arrested March 16 at his Vallejo home. Green was arrested a day earlier at San Francisco International Airport, court records show.

Just two weeks earlier, police had conducted surveillance on Green’s Richmond home in the 100 block of South 16th Street. Police say Green appeared to notice the surveillance team and sped away from the residence in a stolen Honda.

Later that same day, police served a search warrant on Green’s home, where they allegedly found 27 rounds of ammunition with the same-numbered head stamp as the shell casings found on I-880, as well as some of Bivins’ possessions. That discovery turned out to be the long-sought break in Jasper’s killing.

Police confirmed that Bivins had owned a dark gray 2008 Infiniti similar to the one described by eyewitnesses to the freeway shooting, but authorities said that the car had been involved in a crash and turned over to an insurance company.

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Crime and Public Safety | One dead in fatal I-80 collision Crime and Public Safety | 11 masked burglars made off with $200,000 of cannabis from East Bay THC oil processing center Crime and Public Safety | Sexual assault suspect sought by Berkeley police, video of confrontation released Crime and Public Safety | Oakland man charged with dragging woman to his car as she tried to hide inside bakery, evading capture in high speed chase Crime and Public Safety | Two men wounded in East Oakland shootings Bivins, Green and Jackson all face charges of special circumstances murder, making them eligible for sentences of life without parole, but it is unclear if those charges will stick. Now-former District Attorney Nancy O’Malley filed the special circumstances enhancements against Bivins, Green and Jackson in December, a month before her term ended.

The new Alameda County district attorney, Pamela Price, ran on a platform that opposed capital sentences or terms of life without parole. Price’s office has already stricken special-circumstances enhancements for an accused serial killer and child rapist, with stated plans to review additional similar cases.

All three men have pleaded not guilty, and are being held without bail in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. The Contra Costa County attempted murder case against Bivins and Green in the mall shooting is pending trial.

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