Berkeley’s second homicide of the year took place in the 1800 block of Derby Street, just west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Photo: Google Street View
Berkeley’s second homicide of the year took place in the 1800 block of Derby Street, just west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Photo: Google Street View

Exclusive: The man who was shot and killed on Derby Street on Wednesday night was the younger brother of a man murdered by North Oakland gang members in 2009 — and had been the intended target of that shooting.

Jermaine “Thurgood” Davis was killed around 6:52 p.m. in the 1800 block of Derby Street, according to Todd Walker, a friend of the Davis family. Berkeley police have not yet released the victim’s identity.

“He was ambushed,” said Walker.

On May 16, 2009, Jermaine Davis had been the intended target of four North Side Oakland members locked in an escalating feud with Berkeley’s Waterfront Gang, according to Alameda County prosecutors. The four men – Samuel Flowers, 25, Rafael Campbell, 28, Anthony Price, 30, and Stephon Anthony, 23, drove into Berkeley that day looking for Jermaine Davis, but could not find him, according to prosecutors. Instead, they used an SKS assault weapon with hollow point bullets to kill his brother, Charles “CJ” Davis, 25, who had no gang affiliation, instead. Flowers was identified by witnesses as the shooter.

Berkeley police then chased the four men from the scene of the shooting at 10th Street and Allston Way, reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. The six-mile pursuit ended in tragedy when Anthony’s Cadillac ran a stop sign at the intersection of Aileen Street and Martin Luther King Way in Oakland. The car crashed into a car driven by Todd Perea, 27, killing him instantly. Anthony’s Cadillac pushed Perea’s car onto the sidewalk where it struck and killed Floyd Ross Jr., 37, who was walking to see his mother.

Anthony and Price were arrested at the scene and witnesses identified Anthony as the driver. Police caught Flowers in Florida two weeks later. Campbell was caught in Sacramento six months later after the television show “America’s Most Wanted” aired an episode on the case.

The four men, whom prosecutor Steve Del Porto called “domestic terrorists,” in his closing statement to the jury, were sentenced Friday July 12 to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. They had been convicted in April of first degree murder with gang enhancements, use of a gun, and special circumstances for the killing of Charles Davis. The defendants also were found guilty of two counts of second degree murder for the killings of Todd Perea and Floyd Ross Jr. Each defendant was also found guilty of two felony counts of causing death during the flight from a pursuing peace officer.

Just five days later, Jermaine Davis was killed.

But Walker said he did not think the conviction and the killing were related. In recent years, Jermaine Davis had been leading a productive life far away from gang activity, he said.

“He has really changed his life around,” said Walker. “He got into trouble when he was younger but he has been doing really good. He has been helping out with his nephew, who plays football. He’s really good with the little kids.”

The Davis family has lived in West Berkeley for decades, said Walker, who has known Jermaine Davis since he was an infant. “He comes from a really close knit family,” he said. Davis graduated from Berkeley High in 2005 and was working with his uncle doing odd jobs at the time of his death.

A lot of the gang members from 2009 have grown up and have children of their own and are no longer involved in violence, said Walker. That is why he does not think the conviction and the shooting of Jermaine Davis are related.

The trial in Alameda County Superior Court revealed the often hidden world of gang violence. The feud between the North Side Oakland Gang and the Berkeley Waterfront Gang started over a stolen car tire rim in 2002 and continued with the killing of three Oakland gang members, Del Porto told the court.

“They embrace a mindset, a culture, a way of life where gaining respect is brought about by how much fear, how much violence you inflict on a community,” said Dal Porto, according to the Oakland Tribune. “This is the kind of mindset you cannot even imagine; they are as savage, low-down and despicable as it gets.”

The killing is Berkeley’s second homicide of the year. On Feb. 4, Zontee Jones was shot on Delaware Street just west of San Pablo Avenue. Jevon Calland has been charged with murder in that case.

Man shot and killed on Derby Street [07.17.13]
DA announces guilty verdicts in Berkeley murder trial [04.30.13]

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...