Richmond mayor ‘saddened’ by alleged hate-crime slaying

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt released a statement Saturday saying he is “saddened and distressed” as details emerge in an allegedly racially motivated fatal shooting against a Richmond resident earlier this month in El Sobrante.

Around 2:10 a.m. on Nov. 12, a sheriff’s sergeant was on patrol in El Sobrante and discovered the victim, 28-year-old William Sims, lying in the roadway near Appian Way and Garden Lane and suffering from a gunshot wound.

Sims was pronounced dead at the scene.

Butt said as the city works to bring people together, they must acknowledge “heinous acts of hatred, hostility and violence” that occurs in the community and nation.

Butt said:

“Though Mr. Sims’ death occurred outside of Richmond city limits in the nearby unincorporated community of El Sobrante, his passing has left our community stunned and seeking justice for a young man who will be remembered as a talented musician and a kind-hearted member of our community.”

He continued:

“I am appreciative of the response from law enforcement, which has led to the arrest of one suspect, and I hope that the remaining suspects are apprehended and brought to justice expeditiously.”

Contra Costa County sheriff’s officials said on Tuesday that deputies had arrested one man and are seeking two others in connection with Sims’ death.

Detectives believe that Sims was at the Capri Club in the 4100 block of Appian Way when some kind of altercation occurred. Sims, a musician and retail worker, had no known gang ties and no criminal history, according to the sheriff’s office.

Daniel Porter-Kelly, 31, was arrested last week and is facing murder and robbery charges in addition to a hate crime enhancement for the shooting.

Contra Costa County prosecutors and sheriff’s officials did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged hate crime, citing the ongoing investigation, but the mayor’s office on Saturday described the shooting as “racially motivated.” Deputies are still looking for two other suspects. They’ve been identified as 32-year-old Ray Simons of Hercules and 31-year-old Daniel Ortega, a resident of either Novato or Richmond, sheriff’s officials said.

During the investigation, sheriff’s deputies arrested Ortega’s mother on suspicion of interfering with the investigation. She’s been identified as Renee Brown, 54, of Novato and is being held on $500,000 bail, according to the sheriff’s office.

In the statement, Butt urged Richmond residents to maintain the city’s values of respect and care for one another, as “racism, bigotry, discrimination and all other forms of hatred and oppression” have no place in the city.

According to Butt:

“My office is committed to working with law enforcement along with local, state and federal representatives to ensure that we remain progressive in fostering an inclusive society and ensuring public safety for all.”

He added:

“I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of William Sims and hope all who knew him can find comfort during this unimaginably difficult time.”

Porter-Kelly is being held at the county jail without bail. He’s scheduled to be arraigned at the George D. Carroll Courthouse in Richmond on Monday, prosecutors said.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Ortega and Simons is asked to contact the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office at (925) 646-2441.

The two suspects are considered armed and dangerous and anyone who spots them should not approach them, according to the sheriff’s office.