OAKLAND -- One suspect was arrested Tuesday morning in the fatal shooting of two employees at a Grand Lake district restaurant Monday night, and police have ruled out attempted robbery as a motive in the slayings.
Police did not reveal what prompted the killings by two suspects at the Wingstop Restaurant, 528 Lake Park Ave. But they did say it wasn't a robbery, as was first believed.
The two men slain were both from Richmond and were identified by police Tuesday afternoon as Jose Santa Maria, 26, and Kenneth Bradley, 22. Santa Maria worked for the Wingstop Restaurant chain for four years, in both Richmond and Oakland, police said, and it wasn't known how long Bradley had been employed there.
Video surveillance and witness tips led police to an arrest of one suspect, who was taken into custody shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday in West Oakland. A second suspect was still being sought.
At 8:25 a.m., police towed a red car from a nearby parking lot that may be linked to the investigation.
The shooting happened about 11:43 p.m. Monday at the eatery, located about a block from the Grand Lake Theatre, between the Heart and Dagger Salon and Cana, a Cuban restaurant
Police said four employees and four or five customers were inside Wingstop when the suspects entered, both wearing orange construction site vests. The business is open until midnight.
Something happened inside the restaurant prompting an employee to activate a silent alarm but before police responded the two workers were shot. The suspects fled without taking anything and no one else was injured.
The deadly violence left workers and residents in the area shocked and saddened. There have been robberies in the area -- police recently put out a bulletin alerting people about an increase in holdups -- but no one could recall the last time someone was killed at a business.
Pamela Drake, executive director of the Lakeshore Business Improvement District, called for business owners, employees and community to develop a strategy to deal with recent burglaries and violence. She said she wants police to help her host a training session, in which business owners and employees can receive safety tips and learn what can be done to avoid confrontations, if anything. Approximately 72 business operate in the area, with the Grand Lake Theatre at the center of it.
"We need to pull together," Drake said. "Because no matter how many police we have, they can never be everywhere all at the same time."
Drake said she is trying to contact the owner of the restaurant in order to establish a memorial fund for the two victims.
Interim Chief of Police Sean Whent and area commander Capt. Anthony Toribio were at the scene Monday night. Toribio plans to hold a meeting soon with area merchants regarding crime prevention, community involvement, concerns and education, according to a message put out by police.
"I've never felt unsafe in this area," said Robin Gulenchyn, 35, of Oakland, who works at the Cana restaurant next door to Wingstop. "It's completely out of the ordinary."
The Wingstop was closed for business Tuesday and is expected to stay that way for an unknown time. Crime scene tape still cordoned off the business at 11 a.m., the time the restaurant normally opens.
Nashon Holden, 30, who lives nearby and is a regular patron at Wingstop, was walking by with a friend on Tuesday morning and saw the yellow police tape. He assumed someone had broken into the restaurant and was stunned when he learned what had happened.
Shaking his head he said "I can't believe it. I'm in shock. Generally this area is very safe."
The killings bring Oakland's homicide total for the year to 49. Last year at this time there were 56 homicides in Oakland.
Police were reviewing video from the restaurant as well as other businesses in the area and were interviewing witnesses. Some of the people in the restaurant at the time of the shooting left before police arrived, and officers would like to talk to them.
Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $20,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest in the homicides. Anyone with information should call police at 510-238-3821 or a tip line at 510-773-2805 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.
Rick Hurd contributed to this story. Contact Harry Harris at 510-208-6443 and follow him at Twitter.com/HarryHarris15. Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469 and follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund