A 17-year old from California’s Bay area is facing murder charges in the shooting of another teen in Richmond, California earlier this month, but he never should have been on the streets to begin with. According to the Times Herald newspaper, Carl Townsend was released from the Alameda County jail back on March 18th after serving a brief time behind bars for a probation violation, but when Alameda County officials sent Townsend on his way, they neglected to check to see if there were any outstanding warrants for his arrest.
As it turns out, Townsend had active warrants for armed robbery in Stockton, California, but officials there were never notified of his release. Instead, Townsend returned to the streets, only to be accused of shooting another teen during an argument in a convenience store the day after he was released from custody.
Video surveillance shows Townsend and the victim staring at each other in the store and an argument escalates. There is no indication they knew each other and the victim wasn’t associated with a gang, police said.
According to authorities, Townsend flashed a pistol then chased the boy out of the store. After allegedly shooting the boy at least once, Townsend is accused of standing over him and firing several more shots at close range.
Townsend has been repeatedly accused of violent crimes over the past year, with little consequence from the criminal justice system. In fact, the failure of Alameda County officials happened after prosecutors in Contra Costa County failed to file charges after Townsend was arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon back in January. Instead of being placed in custody for that crime, officials used a probation violation to keep Townsend in juvenile detention for a couple of months before Alameda County officials released him on March 18th.
Townsend is also accused of a non-fatal shooting in Richmond, California last September. Police say he was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 22-year old Deante Reed when the pair spotted a rival gang member walking down the street. Reed made a u-turn and Townsend allegedly fired ten shots out the passenger side window, striking the victim twice.
Deante Reed is no stranger to law enforcement. In fact, he too is now facing murder charges in the fatal shooting of Richmond rapper Lamonta “Tay Way” Butcher, who was killed six days before the non-fatal shooting allegedly conducted by Reed and Townsend.
The charging records allege that in the afternoon of last Sept. 18, after Butcher posted a video of himself leaving a liquor store at 4th Street and McDonald Avenue in Richmond, Reed drove an unnamed “co-conspirator” to the location in a rented Nissan SUV. It alleges that a passenger in the Nissan opened fire at Butcher and two others who were present, and that Reed drove after Butcher as he attempted to flee the gunfire.
The charging records include gang enhancements that allow prosecutors to charge a suspected participant in a killing as if they were the shooter, even if they aren’t suspected of actually firing the shots. The charging records don’t identify Reed’s suspected passenger.
So, between the two of them, Reed and Townsend are facing murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and armed robbery charges… all crimes believed to have been committed within a seven-month period.
Does this sound like a problem that can be addressed by putting yet another gun control law in effect in California? Yeah, I don’t think so either. When Second Amendment advocates talk about better enforcement of existing laws, this is what we’re talking about. Banning gun shows wouldn’t stop guys like Deante Reed and Carl Townsend from committing violent crimes. Ensuring that their are consequences for their violent actions, on the other hand, would. It’s just that the Democrats running California would rather target legal gun owners than ensure that violent offenders face any sort of consequence for their actions.
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