‘Serious danger’: Charging docs in Tuan Le’s killing reveal multitude of felony allegations

Oakland Police Officer Tuan Le was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 29, 2023, at 8:44 a.m. in Oakland, Calif. Le was shot while responding to a burglary at a cannabis business along the city’s waterfront and is the 54th Oakland police officer to die in the line of duty. (Oakland Police Department via Bay City News)

Three men charged in connection with the shooting death of Oakland Police Officer Tuan Le last Friday are facing a multitude of charges, according to documents from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office filed Thursday. 

Le, 36, was shot multiple times in the early morning hours on Dec. 29 while responding to a burglary call at a cannabis dispensary on the Oakland Embarcadero near Jack London Square. Police said Le was working undercover and was shot as multiple suspects tried to get away. He died at a hospital at 8:44 a.m. that day. 

Two men with lengthy criminal histories are being charged for the murder of Le — Mark Sanders, 27, and Allen Brown, 28. A third man, Sebron Ray Russell, is being charged with second-degree burglary for his alleged role in the lethal heist.  

Sanders was arrested Tuesday in Livermore and Brown was arrested Sunday in Chico, police said. Both were arraigned Thursday along with Russell. 

Sanders is being charged with 72 felonies, the most serious of which is for the alleged murder of a police officer with special allegations of shooting from a vehicle in a “drive-by” murder, along with multiple weapons-related charges.  

Prosecutors allege that Sanders committed a crime of great violence that showed “a high degree of cruelty, viciousness or callousness” and that he is a “serious danger to society.” 

Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price on Wednesday said her office would pursue a life sentence without the possibility of parole for Sanders. 

Brown also faces charges of murder of a police officer in a drive-by shooting with cruelty, viciousness or callousness, and both are being charged with allegedly being in possession of a “large” amount of contraband, though the documents do not specify what contraband. 

Sanders is also charged that he allegedly “knew and reasonably should have known” that Le was an on-duty police officer, although the Oakland Police Department said that Le was working undercover that night in an unmarked vehicle. 

Russell is charged with 22 felonies, including second-degree burglary of the dispensary in question, which is located near Jack London Square and owned by Guansan Li, according to prosecutors. 

The charging documents of all three include special circumstances for being on parole or probation and mention the criminal past of each defendant.  

Sanders was convicted in 2015 for voluntary manslaughter and received a wardship term, which means he was declared a ward of the state as a juvenile and was overseen by the probation department.

Brown’s criminal past is brought up in the seventh count of the charges, alleging that his previous convictions as either a juvenile or adult were “numerous and of increasing seriousness.”  

As for Russell, the documents outline four prior convictions in 2015, 2016, 2019, and 2022 for second-degree burglary (twice), evading an officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Le’s death spurred an outpouring of condolences from police forces all over the state and Oakland police launched an extensive search for the alleged perpetrators, culminating in several arrests over the New Year’s weekend. 

A GoFundMe campaign for the Le’s family has more than doubled its original goal, collecting $115,000 in five day after going online Sunday night with a goal of raising $50,000. About 1,200 donors had given $115,413 as of 5 p.m. Friday. Organizers have set a new goal of $125,000.

Le “was a dedicated public servant, loving husband, and cherished member of the Oakland community,” Arlene Lum of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber Foundation, which organized the effort, wrote on the fundraising site. “He will be remembered as a hero who dedicated his life to making the Oakland community safer and bringing positive changes.”

Funds raised by the campaign will be donated to support Le’s family. He is survived by his wife, mother, and two dogs, Lum said.

Plans for a memorial service were announced for 10 a.m. Wednesday at 3 Crosses Church in Castro Valley.

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