UC Berkeley Senior Fatally Shot in Oakland

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Correction Appended

A UC Berkeley senior was fatally shot early Saturday morning outside a bar on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

At about 1:30 a.m., Vincent Choi, 22, who was set to graduate in May, was shot either on the neck or the head after a bar dispute turned violent, said UC Berkeley senior Albert Chun, his childhood friend.

Choi went to Dan Sung Sa, a Korean bar on the 2700 block of Telegraph after work with friends, according to Chun, who was not present during the incident.

At the bar, Choi and his friends were involved in a verbal altercation with a group of seven men and four women, Chun said. The group of 11 allegedly left the bar and waited outside for Choi and his friends to leave. When Choi and his friends emerged, a fight ensued.

"Vincent was definitely the peace-maker," Chun said. "He was doing a good job not letting anyone fight but the gun came out of nowhere."

Choi and two friends each sustained a gunshot wound, said Jeff Thomason, public information officer for the Oakland Police Department.

Alameda resident Jason Ma, who knew Choi since middle school, said he was at the bar with other friends and had chatted with Choi briefly earlier in the night.

Ma said he went outside the bar after hearing a car alarm, but quickly retreated back inside when he realized shots were being fired.

"I went outside and I saw a guy lying on the ground but I didn't recognize (him) as Vincent because he was bleeding so much," Ma said. "It didn't sound like gun shots from the inside because the music was pretty loud."

After the shooting, friends dragged Choi's body into the bar and locked the door. Gun shots continued to be fired at the door of the bar, Chun said.

Choi was declared dead at the scene of the crime, Thomason said.

While there are currently no suspects, Chun said the bar has security cameras that were submitted to the department.

Representatives of the department were unable to comment on the shooting today.

According to Chun, the bar was usually rowdy but did not strike him as dangerous.

Chun said he had attended the same church as Choi since childhood and both were members of a bible study group on campus.

"He is one of my best friends so initially this was just unbelievable," Chun said. "But I don't believe in a God of stray bullets and random acts of violence and I rest surely in the fact that this is a part of something bigger."

Choi's family will be holding a viewing from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening, followed by a funeral service for Choi on Thursday afternoon.


Correction: Thursday, April 2, 2009
An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled Albert Chun's name.

The earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that three of Choi's friends were shot. In fact, two of his friends were shot, according to an Oakland Police Department release.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Contact Anna Widdowson at [email protected]

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