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Suspects face murder, involuntary manslaughter charges for death in laptop theft

Two convicted robbers were charged Friday for their roles in the death of a man who died after trying to get back his laptop computer, which was stolen Tuesday while he worked in a coffee shop in Oakland’s Montclair district.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged Byron OJ Reed Jr., 22, of San Francisco, with murder and the special circumstance of committing a murder during a robbery.

Javon Lee, 21, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and both men were charged with second-degree robbery.

The robbery in the 2000 block of Mountain Boulevard, shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, ultimately claimed the life of 34-year-old Shuo Zeng.

He was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries but died there a short time later, according to police.

According to Zeng’s Linkedin profile, he was a native of China, graduated with a degree in physics from Sichuan University and earned a doctorate at Kansas State University.

Zeng’s profile indicated that he moved to the Bay Area in 2015 to work for Aspera, an IBM company in Emeryville, as a research scientist and engineer.

Reed and Lee are scheduled to be arraigned at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland at 2 p.m. Friday.

Surveillance video shows two individuals snatching a laptop from Zeng and then fleeing into a waiting vehicle, Oakland police Officer Gerald Moriarty wrote in a probable cause statement.

Zeng chased the suspects to their getaway vehicle and a struggle ensued but he was hit by the vehicle and ultimately succumbed to his injuries, according to Moriarty.

Witness statements and a review of surveillance camera footage indicated that Lee was one of the people involved in taking Zeng’s laptop and his actions facilitated the robbery and murder, Moriarty wrote.

Witness statements and surveillance footage also showed that Reed was the driver of the getaway vehicle, Moriarty said.

Reed and Lee were arrested in the 9400 block of MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland at 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to police.

Alameda County prosecutors allege that Reed was convicted of second-degree robbery in San Francisco on Nov. 22, 2017, and Lee was convicted of second-degree robbery in San Francisco on Feb. 27, 2017.

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