Suspects in Oakland police officer murder case make first court appearance

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Friday, January 5, 2024
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OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The suspect identified as the possible shooter that killed Oakland Police Officer Tuan Le made his first court appearance on Thursday. Mark Sanders had his back to the cameras, arraignment waived, but did not enter a plea.

"I want to remind everyone that man who is charged with a crime, is presumed to be innocent until, and unless, the prosecution proves him to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," said Annie Beles, defense attorney for Sanders.

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She addressed the media but did not answer questions.

Officer Le was fatally shot while responding to a reported burglary at a cannabis business last Friday, though Le was working undercover and was in an unmarked vehicle.

RELATED: 2 suspects arrested for murder in killing of Oakland police officer Tuan Le

Authorities announce that Mark Sanders and Allen Brown have been arrested for murder in fatal shooting of Oakland police officer Tuan Le.

Le's family members and members of law enforcement were in court for the hearing.

Wednesday night, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price announced the charges alongside Mayor Sheng Thao and Interim Oakland Police Chief Darren Allison.

"I will leverage the full weight of my office against these people who we believe ruthlessly and wantonly murdered an officer of the law," explained Price.

Sanders is being charged with murder with special circumstance and special allegations. If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

RELATED: Oakland officer shot, killed in line of duty ID'd as Tuan Le, a 4-year veteran

"What Mr. Sanders is facing is a murder charge, and special circumstance. I believe, the first special circumstance by this administration, in the year that Ms. Price has been district attorney," said Beles.

Beles said she was only given the probable cause declaration and wouldn't respond to discovery -- except for what comes from the prosecution -- adding she is still missing detailed information about the case.

"I just want to say that I stand ready to defend Mr. Sanders against these charges," said Beles.

A second suspect, Allen Brown, is also being charged with murder.

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The third suspect, Sebron Russell, faces burglary charges. Court documents show that Russell has a long list of priors related to kidnapping and use of a deadly weapon. But those charges which were dropped by DA's Office due to insufficient evidence.

Russell was on felony probation when arrested in the Le case.

We're also learning that a fourth man is now in custody. Our media partners with the Mercury News are reporting that officers arrested 34-year-old Marquise Cooper Wednesday night in Southern California on a burglary warrant.

Sanders and Brown were held without bail at Santa Rita Jail. Russell is being held on $200,000 bail set by the judge.

All three men will return Jan. 18 to enter a plea.

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