OAKLAND -- A 14-year-old boy wanted in the killing of his older sister since last week came out of hiding Wednesday, sharing a tearful goodbye with family members who cried and hugged the handcuffed teen as Oakland police stood by to take him into custody at police headquarters.

Police said Mario Toliver Jr. was considered armed and dangerous after shooting and killing his 17-year-old sister Jan. 23. To his family, though, he is still their baby. His father said he loved his sister, and she loved him back.

"He's not armed and dangerous. He's a child," Mario Toliver Sr. said after the arrest. "They were putting things out there to try to hurt my baby. I just stopped crying from letting go of my son. I didn't want to let go, but I had to do what's best."

Family members said 17-year-old Justice Toliver, mother of a two-year-old daughter, was shot and killed in her family’s Chinatown apartment Thursday afternoon.
Justice Toliver (Courtesy of Marianna Gaston)

The seemingly senseless killing and the teen's subsequent flight riveted a city that has seen a rash of youth crime. Mario Toliver Jr. had been wanted since Jan. 23, when police said he had fatally shot his sister, Justice Toliver, in their fifth-floor apartment in the 800 block of Franklin Street in Oakland's Chinatown district, then fled. Justice Toliver was the mother of a 2-year-old daughter.

Since then, officers had been in contact with relatives and friends in an effort to convince the boy to surrender. It was not clear when he had reached out to his family. Friends and family filtered in and out of the Toliver home Wednesday afternoon, looking somber. All of the relatives seen at the family home declined to speak with the media.


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Police have not released a motive, but family members said the fatal shooting followed some type of altercation. The brother and sister loved to go shopping or to the movies and often sang and played baseball together, family members have said previously. They grew up in the apartment with their father, but recently were in the care of their grandmother.

Authorities did not say if they had recovered the weapon used in the shooting, nor have they said how they believe the teen came into possession of the gun.

Family members describe Toliver Jr. with words that contrast starkly with the allegations he is facing. The elder Toliver said his son is a good student, has never been in trouble, and recently became a father himself.

Mario Toliver Jr. arrived at police headquarters about 2:15 p.m. Sgt. Mike Gantt and Officer Nick Calonge, who had been alerted to his impending surrender, were waiting for him.

Gantt handcuffed the teen but allowed him to say goodbye to his father, grandmother and a half-dozen other relatives before he was taken away. Some relatives hugged him and gave him encouraging words inside the Police Department's lobby before he was taken to the homicide unit for questioning. A call to the boy's attorney, who also accompanied him to the police station, was not immediately returned.

"I'm hurt. I'm devastated -- two losses, I'm going through it," the boy's father said.

Staff writer Karina Ioffe contributed to this report.