Men charged in Oakland police officer’s killing make first court appearance

Jakob Rodgers

OAKLAND — Two of the men arrested in the killing of Oakland police officer Tuan Le made their first appearance in court Thursday, marking a new phase in the sprawling investigation into the officer’s death.

Mark Demetrious Sanders, 27, and Allen Starr Brown, 28, stood silently in red jail outfits while waiving a formal arraignment on murder charges in the Dec. 29 killing, which marked the first time in 14 years an Oakland police officer was killed in the line of duty. In the gallery, dozens of law enforcement officers looked on in silence in a show of support for their slain colleague and his family.

Sanders kept his back turned to the courtroom throughout his brief hearing. Brown faced the courtroom but did not show any emotion, even as several members of his family looked on from the gallery.

Both men are due back in court on Jan. 18 to enter pleas.

Sanders is accused of firing at Le from a vehicle driven by Brown, after Le and other undercover officers responded to a burglary call at a cannabis business on the 400 block of Embarcadero, near 5th Avenue.

Le was driving an unmarked police truck when he was shot in the head, according to court documents released Thursday. He died hours later at Highland Hospital.

Sanders’ attorney, Annie Beles, declined to talk about the case after the hearing Thursday, citing concerns about the lack of detailed information about Sanders’ alleged actions that night in documents filed by prosecutors.

“I want to remind everyone that he is presumed innocent,” said Beles, who also expressed her “deepest condolences to the family and friends of the fallen officer for his tragic death.”

A third man, 30-year-old Sebron Russell, was charged with multiple counts of burglary in connection with the break-ins that preceded the killing. He is expected to make his first appearance in court Thursday afternoon.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

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2024-01-04 21:11:01 , Oakland – The Mercury News

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