Cause For Celebration Inexplicably Memorialized

Only in California. Well, maybe not only in California, but certainly an unsurprising turn of events for the Gay Bay Area.

“Man tragically killed” during attempted robbery.

Feelin’ the SF Chronicle love yet?

Allen Joseph Hicks III, 22, was an accused batterer on probation for a drug conviction and an aspiring rap artist whom everybody in his neighborhood knew as “Boonie.”

The lives of the two men intersected tragically at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday when Hicks, armed with a pistol and joined by two other men, tried to rob Piedra inside the popular pizzeria at 89th Avenue and International Boulevard. Fearful that the assailants might hurt him, his wife and three children — all of whom were inside the restaurant — Piedra pulled out his 9mm semiautomatic pistol and opened fire, killing Hicks, police said.

In the chaos, Piedra may have accidentally shot and wounded his 17-year-old son, who was not seriously injured, police said.

Simply outstanding journalism from Henry “Tookie” Lee. Their lives “intersected tragically” when Boonie and his dawgs decided it was time to rob the pizza place. When Lee wrote that Piedra was fearful that the assailants might hurt him, it really painted a picture for me. It’s like I was there. Top notch wordsmithing.

But if you think Lee’s journalistic skills need work, just smell what the Oakland P.D. be cookin’.

The drama began at 9:37 p.m. when three men walked into the pizzeria. Hicks was armed with a pistol and walked up to Piedra, pointed the weapon at him and said, “This is a robbery,” according to police and Piedra.

Piedra said his 17-year-old son, 19-month-old son and 13-year-old daughter were inside the restaurant at the time. Piedra said he was afraid that the assailants would shoot him or hurt his family, a contention supported by Oakland police who nevertheless cautioned against citizens taking direct action against criminals.

“There is definitely a balance,” said Officer Roland Holmgren, department spokesman. “This thing had potential — who knows where the suspects were going to take the situation? But by no stretch of the imagination are we agreeing with or justifying what the owner did.”

Thanks, Officer. This is why we don’t call you when there’s a problem. Piedra should be hailed as a freaking role model, not second-guessed. Just remember kids, don’t take the law into your own hands. Wait for the Police Clean-Up Crew™ to come and scrape up the remains of you and your family. Be a good witness, but don’t defend yourself.

Holmgren said, “We’re not saying that we want citizens to go out there and arm themselves and take the law into their own hands. We want citizens to be good witnesses, to be good report-takers and to identify suspects.”

The shooting has left two families traumatized, Holmgren said. “There are no winners in this whole case,” he said.

Well, that’s where you’re wrong again, Officer. Society wins when human debris like Boonie is shown the door. Oakland is a winner. The country is a winner. The planet is a winner. And most of all Piedra is a winner, because he didn’t allow himself and his family to become more statistics in the mile-long Oakland P.D. daily crime report.

The toughest part, though, is the loss of another young rapper. If there’s one thing this country is in need of, it’s more of the same. Journalist “Tookie” Lee made sure that he took a knee and wept at the Boonie’s makeshift memorial to show proper respeck for the fallen rap hero. And despite his occasional failings, Boonie was a good man.

Last month, Alameda County prosecutors charged Hicks with two counts each of battery and making threats and one count of brandishing a gun in November and December against his girlfriend, with whom he had been engaged to be married.

The woman said she ended their three-month relationship after Hicks became physically abusive, Oakland police Officer John Biletnikoff wrote in court records. On Christmas Day, Hicks let himself into her home with a key, got into an argument with her and punched her in the face six times, police said.

“One of the blows was so hard her head hit the wall and it put a hole in the wall,” Biletnikoff wrote. After she fell to the ground, Hicks kicked her in the stomach, she told police.

Hicks once called the woman and showed up with a gun in his hand, the woman told police.

The 28-year-old woman, who didn’t want her name used, told The Chronicle on Friday that despite the alleged abuse, Hicks was a “good person.” Still, she said she very surprised that he was shot and killed in an apparent robbery attempt. “I wouldn’t think that he would have done something like that,” she said.

(via SeeDub, GMTA)


  1. More excerpts extolling this icon of humanity:

    “Hard-headed ass, Boonie,” one message read. “The world’s gone miss u boy.”

    Um, the world’s mostly unawares of this “boy” or privately celebrating a bit of poetic justice.

    “He always had a smile on his face,” said a 22-year-old man who identified himself as a rapper named Little Al. “He was a solid dude, loyal.”

    Yes. A lovely chap. I bet he was smiling at everyone he robbed… up until he met his match in a truly solid dude who wiped it right off his jovial face and into a deserved grave.

    He didn’t express any anger at the pizzeria owner for shooting his friend. “Life happens,” he said. “I’m not upset, you feel me? You wouldn’t want it to happen, but it happened. Ain’t no telling why that shooting occurred.”

    No telling at all. Probably just a deranged proprietor hopped up on crack and, needing quick cash to pay off his restaurant lease, reflexively killing a patron who looked particularly vulnerable. God only knows why this doesn’t happen more often. The real crime here is family-owned pizzerias. Scourges. All of ’em.

  2. The store owner can still be a good witness. When the police arrive, he can point to ground at Boonie and say, “he looks exactly like the guy I shot when he was robbing me.”

  3. Cut Boonie some slack he was just trying to establish his gangsta “creds”.

    Looks like he got them. So I’d say it was a win-win all the way around.

    BTW, I lived in Oakland for two years and had the pleasure of being in a liquor store 8pm on Sunday when it was robbed by a black guy with a shotgun.

    The police, to their credit, were very fast in responding and I was a “good witness”. However, the “black guy with a shotgun who drove away in a Mustang” description didn’t seem sufficient to actually bring closure to this incident.

    Piedra, OTOH, sent a powerful message to the community. Atta boy.

  4. The Ground is Cold, Yo

    The ground be cold don’t yo know,
    Jus’ like dat’ ho Rosie O’

    The ground be cold or so’s I be told
    ‘cause Preston Taylor Holmes say it so

    Yo, the ground be cold and nows’ I know
    Yo, now’s I know, ho, yo.

  5. From the Jawas, looks like another thug just got his “cred” too.

    Hope he’s sharing a “40” in hell with Tookie and Boonie…

    Oops, I’m sorry. That might come across as racially insensitive. Let me try that again.

    Hope he’s sharing some cookies and milk in heaven with Tookie and Boonie…

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