OAKLAND -- Dirty looks between rival gang members prompted a 2011 shooting that killed a 3-year-old Oakland boy outside a market on International Boulevard and 64th Avenue, a prosecutor said Monday at the trial for two men charged with murder.
"Oh my God, oh my God, they killed a baby, man. They killed a baby, man," an anonymous man can be heard saying as he filmed the aftermath of the Aug. 8, 2011, afternoon drive-by shooting, in a video posted on You Tube and showed to jurors Monday. The little boy, Carlos Nava, can be seen fatally injured on the ground surrounded by hysterical adults. A store's length down the street, intended targets Robert Hudson and Jerome Williams are on the ground bleeding from gunshot wounds.
Carlos was a casualty of a war between longtime rival gangs that claim two sections of an East Oakland housing project. The gangs have been responsible for many retaliatory killings, prosecutor Ben Beltramo said in his opening statement at the trial of Lawrence Denard, 29, and Willie Torrence, 25.
Denard is the alleged shooter, but defense attorney Annie Beles said that Denard was not present and is innocent. She said his name was given by a man trying to negotiate charges in a gun possession case, and cellphone records show that Denard was on the phone at almost the time of the shooting.
Torrence is accused of being the driver, but his attorney, David Byron, said there are witness accounts that another man was behind the wheel.
Beltramo said there will be testimony that Denard and Torrence saw Hudson and Williams standing outside a pizza place and exchanged harsh looks with the victims before making a U-turn and heading back to kill them.
Denard fired a hail of bullets from the passenger's window of a gray Dodge Neon driven by Torrence that day, the prosecutor said. Denard fired low to hit Hudson and Williams after they fell to the ground, the same level as Carlos, sitting in his toy car stroller, the prosecutor said.
The child's mother had just finished shopping at a market and had started to push home Carlos in his plastic-seated push toy, with her other child, a 7-year-old boy, at her side on a bike, when she unknowingly walked into a war zone, Beltramo said.
Hudson was shot in the hip and thigh. Williams was shot in the shoulder and suffered a grazing wound on his head.
Denard and Torrence each face life in prison if convicted as charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder, shooting from a vehicle and a number of weapon and gang enhancements.
The trial continues May 19 with witness testimony.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.