Victim, 2 suspects identified in deadly Oakland Starbucks laptop theft

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Victim, 2 suspects identified in deadly Oakland laptop theft
The man who was killed while trying to retrieve a laptop after it was stolen at an Oakland Starbucks has been identified as Shuo Zeng.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The man who was killed on his birthday while trying to retrieve a laptop after it was stolen from an Oakland Starbucks has been identified as 34-year-old Shuo Zeng, according to charging documents.

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Two suspects arrested in the case have been identified as 22-year-old Byron Reed and 21-year-old Javon Eugene Lee.

Reed faces multiple charges including murder. He has a previous conviction on robbery in San Francisco.

Lee is facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors say Reed was the driver of the getaway vehicle and as Zeng tried chase after the suspects, there was struggle.

Zeng was hit by the vehicle as the suspects escaped from the scene at the Starbucks in Oakland's Montclair neighborhood.

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The Oakland Police Department says thanks in part to Montclair Village Association surveillance video that captured the getaway vehicle's license plate.

"Without the cameras that the Montclair Village Association installed we may not have captured these criminals," said Toni Mikulka, assistant director of the Montclair Village Association.

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The community is mourning Zeng's death and post-it notes filled with condolences are stuck to the Montclair Starbucks on the 2000 Block of Mountain Boulevard.

Starbucks customer Sue Taylor was sitting next to the victim before he ran out. She later handed his cell phone to first responders.

"It was still warm from his hand. I mean, it was just seconds. He was there one second and the next... he was really gone," said Taylor.

His cousin who wishes to not publish her name says Zeng was a software engineer. She believes he either wanted to preserve all of his research or perhaps save the photos he was editing from their recent vacation together.

"I still can not believe that this happened," she said. "I do not want him to be remembered as a victim of a robbery because he's so much more than that. He's a scholar, he constantly reads."

Peter Tseng, a coworker and friend, says Zeng also loved hiking and was a talented photographer.

"He liked the outdoors, and he actually brought a lot of us together a lot of times, you know, for activities," Tseng said. "He was a good friend. He was a really kind guy."

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The victim's parents are now coming from China and his cousin from New York to identify his body.

ABC7 News reporter Melanie Woodrow is at the courthouse on Friday, where the suspects are expected to be arraigned.