A convicted felon broke down in tears Friday as he testified about watching his good friend get fatally shot for an unknown reason at the entrance of the apartment they shared in East Oakland two years ago after a night of drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.
Deandre Cooper, 33, who has a conviction for possession of stolen property and currently is in jail for a recent arrest on drug charges, said he tried to stop 37-year-old Demara Hatch from shooting his friend, 30-year-old Jay Hansen, outside the apartment in the 2800 block of Nicol Avenue in the early morning hours of May 25, 2014, but Hatch went ahead and shot Hansen anyway and Hansen died at the scene.
Cooper said that after Hatch hurriedly drove away, “I was screaming for help” and tried to carry Hansen to a car to drive him to the hospital but he was too heavy.
Dressed in a red jail uniform reserved for inmates who are in protective custody or administrative segregation, Cooper said that after he found out that Hansen was dead, “I was hysterical and was not emotionally available to respond” and didn’t cooperate with police.
Cooper said he, Hansen, Hatch, who has three prior felony convictions for battery, burglary and possession of a controlled substance, and three women had begun a night of partying at the apartment that he shared with Hansen, who was a student at San Francisco State University and the father of three children.
Cooper said Hatch got sick and stayed in the car as the group drove to clubs in San Francisco and Oakland and then got food at a taco truck and more alcohol at a liquor store before they returned to the apartment.
Cooper said Hansen was driving the car and “felt disrespected” because the women in the car “were trying to act like boys.”
One of the women testified on Wednesday that she and the other women dressed like men and presented like men and Hansen didn’t like it and “called us dikes and bitches.”
She said, “I felt disrespected.”
Cooper said today, “Jay was screaming it the top of his lungs and it made me feel uncomfortable.”
He said, “I tried to calm Jay down but Jay didn’t listen to me.”
Cooper said everyone got out of the car when Hansen pulled into the apartment’s driveway and then Hatch pulled out a gun that appeared to be a .44 Magnum revolver.
Cooper said Hansen raced to the apartment’s front door and asked Hatch, “Are you going to pull the gun out on me?”
Cooper said he and the women tried to calm Hatch down but Hatch still went ahead and fired a single shot that killed Hansen.
Cooper said of Hatch, “I don’t know why he shot him (Hansen).”
Under cross-examination by Hatch’s lawyer, Bonnie Narby, Cooper admitted that he told police that he and Hansen shared a gun and Hansen knew where to find the gun if he needed it.
But Cooper disputed Narby’s suggestion that Hatch was acting in self-defense because Hansen was rushing in an effort to get the gun away from Hatch.
Cooper said Hansen “was trying to get away from a man (Hatch) with a gun.”
Noting that Cooper told police that he planned to kill Hatch because he had killed his friend, Narby asked him, “You really want to see my client suffer, don’t you?”
Cooper responded, “I think he should get what he deserves.”
Under questioning by prosecutor Jimmie Wilson, Cooper said he’s been labeled a snitch because he eventually agreed to talk to the police about the shooting.
Cooper said, “It’s hard to walk around. It’s impossible to shake it (the snitch label).”
Hatch remained at large for three months after the shooting but was arrested by U.S. Marshals Service officers at his job in Las Vegas on Aug. 27, 2014.
His trial will resume next week.