Antioch

Man fatally shot in 12th slaying of 2013

A man was shot to death near a home Tuesday night, and Antioch police did not say whether they had any suspects in the shooting.

The Contra Costa County coroner identified the man as 27-year-old Antioch resident Andrew Walker.

Police were called to the 2200 block of Lopez Drive about 8:05 p.m. and arrived to find Walker in the front yard of a residence, according to Antioch police. The man, who had been shot more than one time, was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Information on suspects and a motive were not immediately available.

The homicide was the 12th of the year in the city. A fatal shooting at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds last month is being investigated by the Sheriff's Office.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

MARTINEZ

Concord man guilty in drive-by shooting

A Contra Costa jury on Tuesday convicted a 31-year-old man in connection with a drive-by shooting outside a Concord bar in 2010, but it forced a mistrial as to his charges for a second shooting.

Nicholas Cox, of Concord, sprayed gunfire outside Vinnie's Bar & Grill on Mount Diablo Street on March 7, 2010, and injured a 30-year-old man. About two hours later, Cox shot at a Brentwood man outside the Premier Inn on Concord Avenue, prosecutor Simon O'Connell said.

No motive for the shootings, which occurred as Cox was on parole for a robbery conviction, was ever established.

The jury found Cox guilty of two charges for the bar shooting, but it was hung as to an attempted murder charge. As for the motel shooting, the jury acquitted Cox of attempted murder, and was hung as to his charges for attempted voluntary manslaughter and shooting at an occupied building.

Cox is facing life in prison for the convictions, and is headed for retrial on all the hung counts.

-- Malaika Fraley, Staff

RICHMOND

San Pablo Bay barge blamed for gas odor

A mysterious gas odor that sent workers scrambling, residents sheltering and fire crews racing all over the city Tuesday did not emanate from the city at all, according to Pacific Gas & Electric and city fire officials. It wafted from San Pablo Bay.

A barge turning on its turbine getting ready to pull a tugboat caused a smell that traveled for several miles off the water, said Roxanne Cruz, PG&E's government relations chief for the East Bay, wrote in an email to city, county and Chevron officials Monday night.

Richmond fire Chief Michael Banks, who on Tuesday reported that his department fielded roughly 100 calls from all over the city reporting gas leaks, said Wednesday he thought the barge may have burned its engine and released the pungent odor.

The odor was first detected in Point Richmond, but reports came in from North Richmond, the Iron Triangle and along San Pablo Avenue, swamping the city's emergency call center, officials said.

-- Robert Rogers and Chris Treadway, Staff

El Cerrito

San Jose man dies in Interstate 80 crash

A San Jose man was killed early Wednesday when his minivan smashed into the center divide near the Central Avenue offramp in Richmond, then veered over three lanes of traffic before crashing down an embankment on Interstate 80, according to the California Highway Patrol.

No one else was injured and no other cars were involved.

CHP Officer Sam Morgan said officers were monitoring traffic near a construction zone on westbound I-80 between Potrero Avenue and Carlson Boulevard when they heard a grinding sound and saw a Kia Sedona minivan on I-80, missing one of its wheels.

Officers tried to stop the driver, a 50-year-old man from San Jose, but the minivan veered left, colliding with the center divider. The van then veered to the right, across three lanes of traffic and down an embankment adjacent to the Central Avenue exit.

The driver, who was wearing his seat belt, was declared dead at the scene, Morgan said.

His identity is being withheld pending notification of his family.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the minivan to crash, but Morgan said the vehicle's right front tire was flat. It was not known how long the driver may have been traveling on the flat tire, according to the CHP.

-- Rick Hurd and Katie Nelson, Staff

Pittsburg

Driver suffers major injuries in crash

A driver suffered major injuries Wednesday morning in a crash in unincorporated Pittsburg, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Emergency crews were dispatched at 7:12 a.m. to the intersection of Kirker Pass and Nortonville roads after a silver Honda car apparently hit a center divider, Officer Ron Simmons said.

Officers said the unidentified driver of the car was suffering from major trauma and taken to a hospital with unknown injuries, Simmons said.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

MARTINEZ

Pittsburg murder trial deliberations begin

Jury deliberations began Wednesday at the trial for a Pittsburg woman charged with murder and robbery in the 2009 slaying of a 22-year-old San Francisco man whom she and her girlfriend picked up with an invitation to party.

Kiarra Price, 24, fatally shot Benjamin Merrill at Pittsburg's Marina Walk Park on Nov. 3, 2009, after robbing him of his iPhone and pocket cash, prosecutor John Cope said. He is seeking a first-degree murder verdict punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Defense attorney Tracee Clark asked jurors for an acquittal for Price. She said Merrill was shot by 25-year-old Kendra Fells, Price's former friend who took a plea deal in the case and testified against Price in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence.

Price's girlfriend, 24-year-old Teareney Brown, is awaiting trial in the case.

-- Malaika Fraley, Staff

MARTINEZ

College district board appoints new trustee

The Contra Costa Community College District unanimously appointed Matthew Rinn to represent most of the communities of Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, and the town of Pacheco, known as Ward III.

Trustees made the provisional appointment at a special meeting Tuesday. Rinn will replace board President Sheila Grilli, who died in August. Rinn was expected to take office Wednesday during the board's regular meeting.

The provisional appointment becomes effective Nov. 7 unless a petition with a valid number of signatures opposing the appointment is filed within 30 days. Rinn will serve until the next regularly scheduled board election in November 2014.

Details about the petition process are available by visiting www.4cd.edu.

-- Theresa Harrington, Staff

DANVILLE

Road closures planned during Saturday run

Some streets in downtown Danville and in some residential areas will be closed early Saturday for the annual Run for Education, town officials announced.

Runners participating in the half-marathon portion of the event will begin at the intersection of Hartz Avenue and Diablo Road at 7:15 a.m. After the participants clear the starting zone, roads will reopen, and police will begin rolling closures along the race route. All roads are expected to be reopened by 10 a.m. Motorists are asked to use caution and expect delays.

For a map of the closures, visit www.danville.ca.gov.

-- Jeremy Thomas, Staff

Dublin

5K Run raises funds for wellness program

The Dublin Unified School District will host its first 5K fun run and Oct. 20 to raise money for its wellness, anti-bullying and character education programs.

The event takes place at 9 a.m. at Dublin High School, 8151 Village Parkway. A wellness fair will be held the same day from 8 a.m. to noon at the high school.

The fee for the 3.1-mile run is $30 for those 18 or older, $20 ages 6 to 17, $5 for 5 or younger, and $80 for a family of five. Race-day registration prices will be slightly higher.

Mail-in registration must be postmarked by Oct. 14, and online registrations are due by midnight Oct. 17. For information, visit www.dublin.k12.ca.us/dusd or call 209-795-7832.

-- Denis Cuff, Staff