Alleged gang member charged with June murder in North Richmond

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William Melvin Edwards Jr., an alleged gang member, has been charged with conspiracy and murder in the shooting death of Taison Calderon-Lopez on June 1 in North Richmond, according to the Contra Costa County district attorney. 

Sheriff’s deputies responded to an address in the 500 block of Grove Avenue at 6:28 a.m. on report of a shooting and found Calderon-Lopez suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Prosecutors say that Edwards drove a rented Jeep to Calderon-Lopez’s home, and waited near the victim’s work truck for roughly 52 minutes. Once the victim came out, Edwards allegedly shot him four times in the chest then ran back to the jeep and drove away. 

It was a case of mistaken identity, however, according to the district attorney.

Calderon-Lopez had been mistaken for a witness in an attempted murder case that investigators were building against suspects Darjon Hicks and Jermaine Hicks Sr., two uncharged coconspirators that are allegedly members of the same gang as Edwards. 

Sometime between Aug. 23 and Aug. 26, Edwards learned that he was suspected of the homicide and allegedly attempted to obtain false identification for the purpose of leaving the state to avoid arrest, prosecutors said. 

Edwards has been charged with murder and enhancements for lying in wait, committing a murder to further the activities of a street gang, intentional discharge of a firearm and street terrorism — which carries a potential life sentence. He’s also charged with conspiracy to commit a murder. 

He’s scheduled for arraignment Sept. 18 in Richmond, according to Scott Alonso, a spokesman for the district attorney. 

Edwards is reportedly a past employee of the Contra Costa County Office of the Public Defender, but that agency did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation. 

Reporting provided by Bay City News.

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