Prosecutor John Brouhard made the announcement at a brief hearing for 23-year-old Darnell Williams in Alameda County Superior Court Thursday.
Williams' case marks the first time in many years that the Alameda County District Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty. Brouhard declined to say why his office is seeking the death penalty for Williams.
The last time the office sought the death penalty was for David Mills, who was convicted of murdering three people in a shooting in 2005 and killing a fourth person in a separate case in 1997.
Mills was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty in 2012.
Williams is accused of firing multiple shots into an apartment in the 3400 block of Wilson Street at about 11:15 p.m. last July 17, killing 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine and wounding two other children and a 63-year-old woman.
Prosecutors allege that the shooting was in retaliation for the shooting death of 26-year-old Jermaine Davis in the 1800 block of Derby Street in Berkeley about four hours earlier.
Davis was a close friend of Williams, according to Oakland police.
Antiowne York, 25, of Pittsburg, has been charged with murder for Davis' death.
In addition to the murder charge for Alaysha's death, Williams is also accused of murdering 22-year-old Anthony Medearis in the 1400 block of Eighth Street in Berkeley in an unrelated shooting at about 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 8, about seven weeks after Alaysha was killed.
Williams is also charged with three counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting in which Alaysha was killed and the other three people were wounded.
In addition, he faces three special circumstance allegations: committing multiple murders, lying in wait in the shooting that claimed Alaysha's life and murdering Medearis during the course of an attempted robbery.