Victim identified, 2 suspects in court for deadly Oakland Starbucks laptop theft

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The man who was killed on his birthday while trying to retrieve a laptop after it was stolen from an Oakland Starbucks has been identified as 34-year-old Shuo Zeng, according to charging documents.

Zeng was working on his laptop at the coffee shop when someone stole it. He ran after the thief, was dragged by the getaway vehicle and later died.

Zeng's cousin who wishes to not publish her name shared that, "He is the nicest guy I know, always so kind and encouraging. I believe he will still be with us."

She believes he either wanted to preserve all of his research or perhaps save the photos he was editing from their recent vacation together.

"I still can not believe that this happened," she said. "I do not want him to be remembered as a victim of a robbery because he's so much more than that. He's a scholar, he constantly reads."

The two men charged with crimes related to his death appeared in court in Oakland Friday for the first time.

Twenty-two-year-old Byron Reed and 21-year-old Javon Lee were identified as suspects. Bail for Lee was set at $255,000, while Reed is being held without bail.

According to charging documents, Lee was involved in taking the laptop. He's charged with involuntary manslaughter and second degree robbery. Lee was previously convicted in Feb. 2017 on second degree robbery in San Francisco.

Reed is charged with special circumstance murder and second degree robbery. He was previously convicted in November 2017 on second degree robbery in San Francisco.

Reed's sister, Shaquila Reed, said that Byron was at her home watching her 3-year-old daughter, while she was out running errands the day of the crime.

She also says her brother doesn't have a car or a driver's license.

"It hurts, it's not fair," Reed said. "He don't deserve that. My brother was not there."

She says her brother had been staying with her and that she had been, "trying to keep him out of trouble" and that "he's been doing very good."

"I don't understand how they got him wrapped up into this crime that happened," she said before his court appearance.

When asked if she had anything to say to Zeng's family she responded, "I'm sorry for what happened to that victim and hope you can find it in your heart to forgive the person that did do this to your family."

Reed says police officers "drew down on me with big guns, my baby was in the car."

She also said her brother is always, "Helping me out, I have 4 kids and no daddy in their lives, my brother is there for me all the time and now they want to take him from me that's not fair."

Both men will be back in court Monday at 9 a.m. to enter pleas and determine representation.

Zeng's cousin is on her way from NY and his parents are on their way from China, arriving this weekend to identify his body.

The community is mourning Zeng's death and post-it notes filled with condolences are stuck to the Starbucks.
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