OAKLAND -- The father of one of the two girls killed last month and left dying on an East Oakland street said Tuesday that he has more questions than answers about the men who have been charged in the killing of his daughter and her best friend.
"I'm really anxious to get some information," said Barton Gerstel, 46, of San Leandro. "There's a lot still coming out."
An argument inside a parked car led to the fatal shootings Nov. 25 of his 15-year-old daughter, Raquel Gerstel, and her friend, Bobbie Sartain, 16, court documents said. Each girl was shot multiple times. Neighbors who heard the smattering of gunfire ran out of their homes and found the teens lying in the street, covered them with blankets and held their hands while they died.
The suspected shooter, Diantay Powell, 18, of Oakland, was charged with two counts of murder in Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday, along with the special circumstance of committing multiple murders, a charge that could send him to death row if convicted. A second suspect, Antonio Edwards, 19, also of Oakland, was charged with being an accessory to murder. Police said the two men knew both girls -- best friends since they were 8 years old -- but were not sure for how long or how they originally met. Authorities did not say what the teens were arguing about before the shooting.
Barton Gerstel said he had never heard his daughter mention the suspects.
"I'm unfamiliar with them," he said while
Police said a 16-year-old boy also was present during the shooting. He was questioned but not arrested in connection with the shootings.
Multiple witnesses said Powell shot the girls and that he admitted the shooting, court documents said.
Edwards said he drove Powell away from the shooting scene, court documents said.
Investigating Officer Bradley Baker said that police received tips about who was involved in the shooting but did not elaborate.
With 123 murders so far in Oakland this year, homicide detectives are stretched thin and arrests less than a month after a killing or killings are uncommon. Gerstel said he is thankful for the arrests.
"I'm pleased with the work that the detectives did, and I'm glad there are some decent citizens who came forward with the information," he said. "I hope they get the death penalty."
It's not clear exactly who the "multiple witnesses" are in this case.
"Some people weren't happy with what happened, and several witnesses came forward," Barton Gerstel said.
The girls met up with the suspects shortly after leaving a mobile home where Bobbie's uncle lived on High Street about 4 a.m. Nov. 25, police said.
They were all together in a car that was parked on Minna Street when an argument erupted. Something was said that angered Powell, who shot both girls, police said.
The girls were found around 6 a.m., lying on the asphalt in the 2600 block of Minna Avenue near Brookdale Park, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. They clung to life as neighbors held their hands and waited for paramedics to arrive.
Powell was arrested the first week of December and Edwards the second week of December, both on unrelated gun charges, and were later connected to the Nov. 25 shooting, police said. Both remain in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Powell is on a no-bail hold and Edwards' bail is $80,000..
The 16-year-old boy was in custody in another county on an unrelated warrant, police said.
Raquel's family has set up a website to help pay for funeral expenses. Go to www.raquelgerstelfoundation.com to donate.