OAKLAND -- A verbal altercation over who had the right to loiter in front of an East Oakland liquor store led to the shooting death of a 25-year-old man, the accused killer said in court Monday.
Laron Logwood, 36, said he decided to shoot Edwin "Mikey" Grady at point-blank range in the chest on July 16, 2009, because Grady was yelling at Logwood and his friends for standing in a spot where Grady routinely sold marijuana.
Hoping to convince a jury that the killing was conducted in self-defense, Logwood said he feared for the life of him and his friends when he decided to pull out his handgun in the middle of the afternoon and shoot Grady dead.
"I didn't want him to pull out his gun first and get the upper hand," Logwood said. "In my experience, whoever gets the gun first, they have the upper hand; I didn't want him to get the upper hand."
The shooting was captured on video by a surveillance camera operated by owners of the Arrwa One Stop Market at 86th and Bancroft avenues and shows the entire event from the moment Grady arrives in his white Infiniti SUV to the second Logwood fires a single bullet into Grady's chest.
In between, the video shows Grady hugging at least one person standing in front of the store and conversing with several others.
The interactions between Grady and Logwood appear heated at times, with Grady, at one point, placing his hand on Logwood's chest just seconds before Logwood turned his back, reached for his gun and then pointed it at Grady's chest, firing a bullet.
Logwood, who said he had been shot several times in the past, said he was 115 percent sure that Grady was carrying a gun and feared that if he did not act, Grady would have shot at all the people standing in front of the liquor store.
"He was mad about us being on his spot," Logwood said. "He said, 'There's too much freelancing going on on my spot.'"
Though Logwood said he was certain Grady was carrying a handgun, police found no weapons on him when they arrived soon after the shooting. The recorded video of the event also does not make it clear if Grady was carrying a gun, although Logwood's attorney, William DuBois, asked the jury to focus on what appeared to be a bulge at Grady's waistband to suggest it was a gun.
DuBois also said he believes someone ran up to Grady after he was shot and took his gun.
Logwood, who was on probation at the time of the shooting, is charged with first-degree murder, and deputy district attorney Tim Wellman said in opening statements there is no evidence to show that Grady was preparing to shoot anyone.
Logwood will continue testifying Tuesday.