HAYWARD

Man on crutches fends off would-be robber

A man on crutches beat and seriously injured another man with one of his crutches after the man reported tried to rob him and his girlfriend along a South Hayward street early Thursday.

The chain of events that police called an ironic role reversal began just before 12:30 a.m. as the couple walked in the 29000 block of Mission Boulevard, Sgt. Mark Ormsby said.

Officers were called to the scene for a report of an armed robbery and when they arrived a 34-year-old man and his 21-year-old girlfriend told police they had just left the All Suites Islander Motel on Mission Boulevard when a man who appeared intoxicated walked up to them and told them he had a gun.

The couple, both from San Francisco, told officers that the alleged robbery suspect reached underneath his jacket and into his waistband and then demanded money.

That's when the man grabbed one of his crutches and hit the suspect in the face, causing a serious head wound, Ormsby said.

The suspect was taken by ambulance to St. Rose Hospital to be treated for his injuries, police said.

A weapon was never scene, police say.

The couple were not injured.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

OAKLAND

Marketing company to pay $1.8 million


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An Ohio marketing company accused of selling misbranded and unapproved drugs will pay nearly $1.8 million in penalties and restitution to settle a lawsuit lodged by a task force of various California district attorneys, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley announced Thursday.

Benjamin Suarez and his direct mail and Internet marketing company, Suarez Corporation Industries, have been alleged by law enforcement in various states to have used deceptive market claims to sell health products such as pain and weight-loss drugs. An Alameda County judge on Tuesday approved a settlement in a civil enforcement action filed in 2011 by the California Nutritional Supplement Task Force, comprised of O'Malley and her counterparts in Marin, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma and Orange counties.

-- Malaika Fraley, Staff

OAKLAND

Not guilty plea in setting fire to agender teen

A 16-year-old Oakland boy on Thursday pleaded not guilty to hate crime charges for setting fire to an agender teen on an AC Transit bus.

Richard Thomas is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Feb. 25 on charges of aggravated mayhem and assault likely to cause great bodily injury, each which carry an allegation that he attacked 18-year-old Oaklander Luke "Sasha" Fleischman based on Fleischman's gender identity.

Fleischman identified as "nonbinary" gender, neither male or female. Fleischman was sleeping on a bus Nov. 4 when Thomas set fire to the high school senior's skirt, an incident that was caught on surveillance video. Fleischman suffered second- and third-degree burns that required massive skin grafting.

William Du Bois, Thomas' attorney, describes the incident as a childish prank gone wrong. Du Bois said he is planning a second petition to have Thomas' case remanded to juvenile court based on a review of Thomas' confidential criminal record, which he says was a factor in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office decision to prosecute Thomas as an adult.

-- Malaika Fraley, Staff

OAKLAND

Police identify Alameda man slain in shooting

A 25-year-old Alameda man fatally shot Monday night in the parking lot of a Laurel District drugstore was identified by police Thursday as Raymond Kent.

No arrests have been made yet and no motive released by police.

Kent was shot multiple times about 9:06 p.m. Monday in the parking lot of the Walgreens store, 3434 High St. He died at Highland Hospital at 1:35 a.m. Tuesday.

Police said Kent was confronted by at least one man in the parking lot who shot him before fleeing in a vehicle. Police have not said what they think Kent was doing in the parking lot.

Police said even though Kent was living in Alameda, he had ties to Oakland where he had lived before.

-- Harry Harris, Staff

OAKLAND

Debate on surveillance hub has been delayed

A City Council vote on whether to move forward with a hotly-debated intelligence center has been delayed two weeks and will be scheduled for the council's Feb. 18 meeting.

The delay will give city staffers more time to respond to questions from council members and determine whether the proposed contractor, Schneider Electric, violates a law that prohibits the city from contracting with firms that are connected to nuclear weapons makers.

Privacy advocates concerned that the Domain Awareness Center will be used to spy on residents previously invoked the law to disqualify a previous contractor for the job.

-- Harry Harris, Staff

ALBANY

Free talk on importance, beauty of bay mud

Bay wetlands, now recognized as a vital part of the local ecosystem, were once dismissed as "mudflats," shoreline land best suited for filling and reclaiming.

The importance of mud, sand and gravel on the bay and estuary shorelines will be discussed at a free talk by Jeremy Lowe, a senior coastal geomorphologist for San Francisco-based Environmental Science Associates, at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave.

Lowe, the sea level rise programming manager at ESA, "brings insight and humor to the historic and vital role of mud, sand and gravel in our beautiful bay and estuary, and how we can harness dwindling supplies in the face of sea-level rise," say organizers with Friends of Five Creeks, the Berkeley-based group hosting the talk as part of its Bay Currents.

The evening starts with refreshments and social time at 7 p.m. Seating is limited. Details: www.fivecreeks.org.

-- Chris Treadway, Staff

HAYWARD

Man stabbed during dispute, police say

A 32-year-old man suffered serious injuries Wednesday after police say a woman stabbed him in the back five times during a dispute over how to raise children.

Officers were dispatched at 6:47 p.m. to the man's home in the 25000 block of Copa Del Oro Drive for a report of an assault with a deadly weapon, Sgt. Mark Ormsby said.

Officers learned the man was at home with a new girlfriend when his ex-girlfriend of 12 years -- a 32-year-old San Leandro woman -- visited the home with a friend to discuss how to raise the former couple's two children.

At one point an argument broke out, and the man asked the women to leave. When the women refused to leave, the man began to usher them out of his home.

The ex-girlfriend's friend -- a 30-year-old Oakland woman -- stabbed the man in the back five times with a pocket knife, and the two women ran out of the home, police said.

The man, bleeding from the head and back, drove himself to a nearby hospital.

His condition was not immediately known Thursday.

Police located the women. Charges are pending.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff