HAYWARD The fatal shooting of Hayward resident Lotu Elika by an off-duty San Leandro police officer on Wednesday led to a retaliatory attack against a prison guard later that night, investigators revealed Friday.
Two inmates at Santa Rita county jail, at least one of whom was acquainted with
Elika tricked a sheriff's deputy into opening their cell door and then assaulted him, said sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson.
The deputy fought with the inmates on the second floor of a two-tiered maximum-security unit at the Dublin jail, fending the two men off long enough for help to arrive, Nelson said.
"The deputy felt the inmates were trying to lift his legs and throw him over the rail," Nelson said. "A whole posse of deputies came running into the house to quell the situation."
The jailhouse brawl happened just six hours after a San Leandro police officer shot and killed the 24-year-old Elika at a north Hayward home Wednesday afternoon.
Hayward investigators say Elika first knocked on the door of and later forced his way into the Fuller Avenue house, which the off-duty San Leandro officer was visiting that afternoon with his 7-month-old son.
Police say the officer fatally shot Elika with a handgun after Elika violently attacked him and gained control of the baby, refusing to release the infant despite the officer's pleas.
News of the violent incident quickly made its way to Santa Rita jail, and Nelson said inmate Wendell Laupati, 21, of Newark, spearheaded the 10:40 p.m. attack on the guard, with the help of his cellmate William Delgadillo, 33, of Castro Valley.
"This attack on the deputy in the jail was done for no other reason than he was a law enforcement person that these two inmates had access to," Nelson said. He called the jail incident a "direct result" of the officer-involved shooting that happened about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"(Investigators) have made a connection between the suspects in this case and the victim," said Nelson. "There's some sort of friendship. They're acquaintances, let's put it that way."
Laupati and Delgadillo were both awaiting trials on drug charges and parole violations. Delgadillo also faced a charge of evading a police officer.
They now face additional assault-related charges and likely will be placed into units with "even higher security," Nelson said. Asked if the suspects had any gang ties, Nelson said detectives are still investigating any connections they had with Elika.
Meanwhile, the Hayward Police Department and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the officer-involved shooting. Police won't reveal the name of the officer but say he is on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice for such incidents.
Roughly 15 minutes before the shooting, police officers in south Hayward say they spotted Elika while he was a passenger in a car being driven "recklessly" on Tennyson Road.
The officers thought Elika was someone they knew, who had outstanding warrants.
They attempted to catch up to the vehicle. The driver, a female who had an outstanding warrant, got onto northbound Interstate 880 and began "driving recklessly down the shoulder of the freeway," according to a police statement. Police officers ended their pursuit.
They later discovered Elika was not the person they thought he was.
Elika and the woman, who was arrested but whom police have not identified, showed up soon afterward outside a home near the West A Street exit of I-880. Elika knocked on the door of "an apparent random residence," asking to use the phone because of a traffic collision, police said.
The off-duty officer, cradling his baby, answered the door and said Elika could use the home's portable phone outside the residence.
Hayward police spokesman Sgt. James Denholm said what happened next remains under investigation, but he said Elika, who weighed roughly 330 pounds, forcibly entered the home, and began violently attacking the officer and gained control of the baby.
The officer took out a handgun and fired at Elika after he "failed to comply with (the officer's) pleas to release the infant," according to the police statement. Elika died after being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
Elika's family members could not be reached for comment.
Denholm said Elika had a criminal record dating back to 1996, when he was still in his early teens, and was out on parole for one of two auto theft convictions he received in 2004.
Matt O'Brien can be reached at (510) 293-2473 or firstname.lastname@example.org.