Perata carjacking, Oakland music school shooting linked

Posted on May 28, 2008. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

Harry Harris

Bay Area News Group

Article Launched: 05/28/2008 08:01:20 AM PDT

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The following is an excerpt from the article printed in the Oakland Tribune, Dec.30, 2007

Perata safe after carjacking in Oakland

Oakland Tribune, Dec 30, 2007 by Laura Kurtzman

The state senator has lived his whole life in Oakland, and said he has never been the victim of a violent crime.

“This is a punctuation mark on what I’ve been doing for 20 years. There are too many guns out there,” he said. “Anyone who would do that in broad daylight with hundreds of people around must be pretty desperate.”

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A man being prosecuted for a January robbery-shooting that left a fifth-grade Oakland boy paralyzed has become a prime suspect in the December armed carjacking of state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, authorities said Tuesday.

Authorities said Jared Adams’ fingerprints were found in the 2006 red Dodge Charger taken from Perata at gunpoint Dec. 29 near the intersection of 51st Street and Shattuck Avenue. Authorities said Adams, 24, has made admissions to investigators.

Also named as Adams’ suspected accomplice in the carjacking is his longtime friend Ryan McGough, 24, of Oakland, who was arrested Thursday in San Francisco.

Adams’ girlfriend, Maeve McCallon Clifford – who was with Adams when the fifth-grader was shot – has also been implicated in the carjacking by authorities, who said the two men drove the Charger to her East Oakland home after taking it.

Authorities said McGough and Clifford, 19, have also made admissions in the case and that Clifford’s fingerprints were also found in the Charger.

No criminal charges have been filed against any of the three in connection with the carjacking. The case is being reviewed by the Alameda County district attorney’s office and a law enforcement source said charges are expected to be filed soon.

Perata’s office declined to comment.

Adams and Clifford have already been charged in connection with the Jan. 10 robbery-shooting that left Christopher Rodriguez, now 11, paralyzed from the waist down. Christopher, a fifth-grader at Crocker Highlands Elementary School, was taking a piano lesson at Harmony Music School on Piedmont Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road when a bullet pierced the wall of the building, tore through a piano and hit him, damaging his spleen and kidney and severing his spine, doctors said.

Adams is awaiting trial on charges that include attempted murder and robbery in connection with the shooting. Police say Adams fired a gun during the robbery of a gas station across the street from the music school.

Authorities said Adams and McGough have admitted to participating in the Perata carjacking, but each said the other was the masked gunman who took the Charger.

The men who did the carjacking drove to the scene in a gold Chevrolet Camaro that had been taken earlier that day in another armed carjacking in unincorporated San Leandro. The Camaro’s owner and another man were shot at during the carjacking but weren’t hit. That case is being investigated by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said neither Adams nor McGough knew who Perata was and targeted him because of the Charger’s 22-inch rims, which they hoped to resell.

The suspects fled separately in the Charger and Camaro, ending up at Clifford’s home in East Oakland, where they apparently drag-raced the two vehicles, authorities said.

Authorities said Clifford found Perata’s wallet and other personal items inside the Charger and realized who he was and told the two men. Panicked by the revelation, officials said the men drove the Charger to Richmond, where it was abandoned that same day. It was found by Richmond police later that night and criminalists pored over it looking for prints and other evidence. It took until the week of May 12 to identify whose prints were in the Charger.

The Camaro was found abandoned a few days later not far from where Clifford lived.

Adams and Clifford, who remain at Santa Rita Jail while awaiting trial on the robbery-shooting, both made admissions to Oakland Officers Steve Nowak and Jason Andersen and implicated McGough in the carjacking, authorities said. Officials embarked on an intensive search for McGough, who was arrested Thursday in San Francisco in connection with a drug case; he also made admissions to Nowak and Andersen about the carjacking, authorities said.

McGough has prior convictions for possession of stolen property and narcotics offenses and is being held on a probation violation.

Adams and Clifford have been in custody since the Jan. 10 robbery-shooting at the Chevron gas station across from the music school. Police said the pair drove there in a stolen Mustang, and after committing the robbery, Adams shot at an attendant. The attendant was not hit but one of the stray bullets penetrated the wall of the music school, striking Christopher. A bullet also went through a parked SUV that Christopher’s mother was sitting in. She was not hurt.

Adams and Clifford were arrested that night after a chase that ended in a wreck.

They have been indicted by a grand jury in connection with the robbery-shooting. Both have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bail. Alameda County Chief Assistant District Attorney Nancy O’Malley will prosecute the case.

“I’m just glad that they are able to do complete investigations and they are working so hard on this case,” Jennifer Rodriguez, Christopher’s mother, said Tuesday.

A week after the boy was shot, his parents joined Perata at the shooting scene as the lawmaker announced his partnership with the Alameda County Public Health Agency and faith community leaders to conduct a gun buyback event.

“If we can get one gun off the streets, if there’s one less handgun in Oakland, there’s one less opportunity for what happened here to Christopher Rodriguez to happen,” Perata said that day.

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