Suspect Accused of Killing Oakland Police Officer Fails to Face Judge during Arraignment – Charges with Murder Scheduled for January 2024

OAKLAND, Calif. – Mark Sanders and Allen Brown, the suspects in the killing of Oakland Police Officer Tuan Le, were arraigned in court on Thursday morning, marking their first court appearance since their arrests. A large number of Oakland Police Department members filled the courtroom in support of Le and his family, but Mark Sanders turned his back to the judge and the courtroom in a defiant gesture. Meanwhile, Allen Brown looked towards his family seated in the viewing area across from the OPD officers.

Cameras were not permitted in the court for Brown’s appearance, and neither man spoke during the arraignment. Defense attorneys for the men waived their right to the reading of charges, with a plea hearing scheduled for both on Jan. 19. Both Sanders and Brown are being held without bail until then.

The arrests of Sanders and Brown were announced by the police earlier, with Sanders, 27, of Tracy, and Brown, 28, of Chico, charged in the fatal shooting of Le on Dec. 29. The incident occurred as Le and other officers were responding to a burglary at a cannabis business at Embarcadero and 4th Avenue in Oakland.

Sanders, who has prior convictions, is accused of firing the gun that killed Le while riding in a vehicle driven by Brown. A third suspect, 28-year-old Sebron Russell, was also charged in connection to a series of burglaries that occurred before the shooting. Le, who was shot in the back of the head as he drove an unmarked vehicle, is the first Oakland police officer to be killed in the line of duty in 14 years.

District Attorney Pamela Price is seeking murder charges with special circumstances for Sanders, which could result in a life sentence without parole. Brown has also been charged with murder, while Russell has been charged with burglary. Price assured Le’s family that her office will prosecute the case to the fullest, expressing heartbreak and outrage over the crime. Price also pledged that her office will follow the evidence wherever it leads to hold the men accountable for their actions.

Sanders was arrested in Livermore, while Brown was arrested in Chico. Interim Chief Darren Allison mentioned that Sanders is also being looked at as possibly being involved in a homicide in Stanislaus County, and court records show Sanders has a prior conviction for manslaughter. More suspects are still being sought in connection with the case.