OAKLAND, Calif. -- Police are testing guns and other evidence recovered from raids that resulted in the arrest of seven members of an Oakland Black Muslim splinter group who police suspect were involved in the killing of a journalist and two others.
Oakland Police Lt. Ersie Joyner said one of the guns found during the raids is thought to be the weapon that was used to slay Chauncey Bailey, a journalist who was killed by a masked gunman Thursday morning while walking to work.
Bailey, 57, was the editor of the Oakland Post, and had been working on a story about Your Black Muslim Bakery before he was ambushed and slain, his colleagues said. Bailey was a longtime reporter for the Oakland Tribune before becoming editor of the Post, a weekly newspaper geared toward the Bay Area Black community, earlier this year.
He had written stories for the Tribune about the bakery and its founder when Bey was facing rape charges in Alameda County. Most of those charges were later dropped, although one was still pending when Bey died in 2003.
Standing in a black suit with a bow tie, a member of the bakery organization said Friday that the accused crimes do not reflect the principles of his group.
"This is not a reflection of Dr. Yusuf Bey," said Shamir Yusuf Bey in a sidewalk news conference in front of the bakery. The organization's members all take the founder's surname. "We are all sons of Dr. Yusuf Bey. He has taught us morals, he has taught us how to be advocates in our community."
Joyner said he believes those responsible for Bailey's death were among the seven people arrested Friday. Police say they still do not have a motive for the killing, and that they did not know Bailey was working on a story about the bakery.
Before dawn Friday, officers raided the Muslim group's headquarters at the original bakery, as well as three houses in Oakland that are tied to the group. Among those arrested was the son of the group's founder, Yusuf Bey IV, who was booked on charges including homicide, robbery and assault.
"The search warrant yielded several weapons and other evidence of value including evidence linking the murder of Chauncey Bailey to members of the Your Black Muslim Bakery," said Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan. He said the raids were part of a yearlong investigation into a variety of violent crimes, including two homicides earlier this year and a kidnapping and torture case.
Joseph Debro, an Oakland businessman who writes a column for the Post, said Bailey had recently asked him for information about Your Black Muslim Bakery's financial troubles for a story Bailey was writing.
"To him it was just another story," Debro said. "He wasn't apprehensive or anxious about it at all. He said he was working on a bunch of stories and this was one."
Your Black Muslim Bakery was founded in 1968 by the late Yusuf Bey as a haven for struggling urban families. It sells natural baked goods alongside books by Malcolm X and other Black leaders.
Yusuf Bey IV, who was in custody Friday, took over the original bakery and several franchises. In 2005, he was accused of being the ringleader in a group of Black Muslims who smashed liquor bottles in Oakland corner stores and berated the Muslim owners for selling alcohol to the Black community.
Your Black Muslim Bakery has had financial problems for several years and filed for bankruptcy in October 2006.