Suspect in donut shop murder arraigned

February 6, 2009 1:30:42 PM PST
A 19-year-old Richmond resident was arraigned today on charges that he murdered a man in front of a donut shop in the city in 2007 after the two got into an argument over a small marijuana deal.

Eugene Lunnie, who police have alleged is a Central Richmond gang member, is also charged with an enhancement for using a gun to kill 24-year-old Jermaine Lewis on June 14, 2007.

Lunnie did not enter a plea today because he didn't have an attorney. The judge referred him to the public defender's office.

He remained in custody today and his bail has been set at $2 million.

The shooting happened shortly before 3 p.m. in front of multiple witnesses, police said at the time, but nobody wanted to talk to investigators.

Police continued to work on the case and have since uncovered new information linking Lunnie to the killing, Richmond police Detective Eric Haupt said Thursday after prosecutors filed charges in the case.

Just before the shooting, Lunnie and Lewis had allegedly gotten into an argument over a small marijuana transaction in front of Lee's Donut Shop in the 1100 block of MacDonald Avenue, police said.

The argument escalated into a small physical altercation and then Lunnie left, "which is when we believe he got the gun," Haupt said.

When Lunnie returned a short time later, he and Lewis allegedly got into a brief struggle over the gun. When Lewis tried to run away, Lunnie allegedly shot him several times, Haupt said.

Lewis stumbled into the donut shop, where he collapsed and died, Haupt said.

The main witness to the shooting was reluctant to talk to investigators and then three days after the killing he was severely beaten in Pittsburg, Haupt said.

"The guy was beaten so bad we thought he was going to die," Haupt said, but he eventually recovered.

Police have not been able to connect the beating with the fact that the man had witnessed the killing.

Lunnie is scheduled to return to court to be assigned and attorney and enter a plea Feb. 19.