OAKLAND — A 30-year-old rapper, whose former performing name helped lead to his arrest, has been charged with special circumstance murder in the fatal robbery-shooting Oct. 1 of a Berkeley man outside an Old Oakland nightclub, authorities said Friday.
Besides the murder count, the suspect, Billy C. Shaffer Jr., of Antioch, who now calls himself Billy Bankroll but used to be known as Wild Bill, is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has a prior felony firearms conviction in Sacramento County in 2010.
Shaffer is charged in the killing of Connie M. Sowels III, 27, who was fatally shot about 1:18 a.m. Oct. 1 in the 1100 block of Clay Street outside the Bella Ultra Lounge, 561 11th St. Officer Phong Tran said Shaffer told police he was outside the club but denied any involvement in the robbery and shooting.
Tran said both men were at the club earlier but did not know each other.
Tran said Shaffer instigated a physical altercation with Sowels before he grabbed a gold chain from his neck and shot him when Sowels tried to get the jewelry back. Shaffer fled the scene.
Police said besides having video surveillance putting Shaffer at the scene, investigators got a tip from someone who said the gunman was a rapper named Wild Bill. Police confirmed that was Shaffer and he was subsequently identified by witnesses as the gunman, authorities said
He was arrested early Monday in San Leandro by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies who found him in a stolen car they had stopped. He is being held without bail at Glenn Dyer Jail in Oakland.