A Hayward man was convicted of second-degree murder and assault on Wednesday for fatally shooting a former UC Berkeley senior and assaulting two other men outside an Oakland restaurant more than two years ago.
Dwayne Robinson, now 22, will serve at least 40 years for fatally shooting 22-year-old UC Berkeley senior Vincent Choi and assaulting Choi’s two friends Michael Voong and John Lu outside of a Korean restaurant on Telegraph Avenue on March 28, 2009.
An Alameda County Superior Court jury found Robinson guilty on three counts of assault with a firearm and murder of the second degree on Aug. 3. Robinson was a 19-year-old student at Chabot College at the time of the shooting, said Alameda County deputy district attorney and prosecutor for the case Tim Wagstaffe.
According to Wagstaffe, Choi’s six-person group and the defendant’s 10-person group began to verbally argue inside the restaurant — Dan Sung Sa — after one group questioned the manner in which the other group was looking at them. Wagstaffe said that the two groups then went outside with the thought of there being a fight.
“It sounded like, I thought, kind of typical people with a couple drinks thinking there might be a fight,” Wagstaffe said.
According to Robinson’s attorney David Kelvin, Voong and Lu said they did not do anything to provoke Robinson.
Robinson told Choi and his friends to go back inside, Wagstaffe said, after which the group refused to comply. He proceeded to back away down the block and pull out a 9-millimeter handgun, telling the group to “go inside — last chance,” according to Wagstaffe.
Wagstaffe added that Robinson loaded his gun and fired seven shots, hitting Choi with two shots to the abdomen and the chest, killing him immediately. He also hit Voong and Lu in the legs.
Robinson shot at and missed another man, Quy Ngo, after which he got into a car with an unidentified friend who drove him back in front of the bar, where Robinson fired off five more shots, not hitting anyone, Wagstaffe said.
According to Kelvin, Robinson testified to having fired his gun in self-defense after somebody in the other group pulled a gun on him. However, according to Wagstaffe, there was no evidence found that substantiated his story, and all of the victims were found to be unarmed.
Kelvin explained that he was not pleased with the verdict, as he maintains that Robinson acted in self-defense.
“(Robinson had) no criminal record,” Kelvin said. “I think he was protecting himself. I don’t know why he would have just shot those people. He’s never shot anybody before. It was self-defense.”
The Oakland Police Department interviewed witnesses and used Crime Stoppers — a program that allows people to provide anonymous information about criminal activity — to get anonymous tips, and the police department was able to get a cellphone picture of the defendant in the restaurant, Wagstaffe said.
“The jury did the right thing,” Wagstaffe added. “I think that … the appropriate verdict was reached.”
Robinson is currently being held in the Santa Rita Jail and will be sentenced on Sept. 30, 2011, at the Rene C. Davidson Alameda County Courthouse.