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2 men charged in shooting death of Oakland officer answering a burglary call at a marijuana business

Officer Tuan Le, 36, was shot in the head Friday and died at a hospital.
Oakland police officer Tuan Le, 36, who was killed while answering a burglary call at a marijuana business on December 29, 2023.
Oakland Police Officer Tuan Le, 36, who was killed answering a burglary call at a marijuana business on Dec. 29.Oakland Police Department / Oakland Police Department / Facebook

OAKLAND, Calif. — Two men were charged with murder Wednesday in the death of an Oakland police officer who was shot while answering a burglary report at a marijuana business, authorities said.

Charges were filed against Mark Sanders, 27, of Tracy, and Allen Starr Brown, 28, of Chico.

The two remained jailed Wednesday night. They were scheduled for arraignment Thursday and it wasn’t immediately clear whether they had attorneys who could speak for them.

Officer Tuan Le, 36, was shot in the head Friday and died at a hospital. He was in plainclothes and driving an unmarked truck when he and other officers answered a report of a burglary in progress at a suspected illegal cannabis grow house near Jack London Square, where another burglary had been reported several hours earlier, authorities said.

The arriving officers said they saw several people leaving the business. Prosecutors allege that Sanders opened fire from a car with Brown inside the vehicle.

Officers took their wounded colleague to the hospital, where he died about four hours later.

Le was the 54th Oakland police officer to die in the line of duty and the first killed in nearly 15 years.

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price and interim Police Chief Darren Allison announced the arrests and charging of the men at a news conference Wednesday night.

Price said she had told Le’s wife and mother about the charges and assured them that her office “will do everything within the confines of our legal power to make sure...that the man we believe shot and killed officer Le will serve the rest of his life in prison.”

A third man, Sebron Ray Russell, 30, is charged with taking part in the burglary. It also wasn’t immediately clear whether he had legal representation.

Sanders and Russell have criminal records. The two and another man pleaded no contest in 2022 to burglarizing a Pittsburg home where marijuana was being grown and received six-month jail terms, the East Bay Times reported.

Sanders also pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter for a 2014 shooting that took place when he was 17 that killed an 18-year-old man, the paper said.

Brown and Russell were arrested over the weekend and Sanders was arrested Tuesday in Livermore, authorities said.

At the news conference, authorities said Le’s handcuffs were used to arrest Sanders.

Price said told Le’s family that her office would seek a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole for the officer’s killers.

Meanwhile, police said they continued to pursue other suspects in the burglary.