What ever happened to I-580 shooter?

Written by Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat March 08, 2013 07:06 am

A Groveland man involved in a high-profile 2010 shootout with California Highway Patrol officers in Oakland will return to court in May for yet another hearing in the drawn-out case.

Byron Christopher Williams, 47, is accused of opening fire on the officers after they pulled him over on I-580 on July 7, 2010.

Authorities have said he was traveling to San Francisco to kill employees of the American Civil Liberties Union and Tides Foundation, whose political leanings he disagreed with. Williams allegedly told police he wanted to start a “revolution.”

Williams is still being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. He has a motion hearing scheduled May 24 in Alameda County Superior Court. He’s expected to request  information in an arresting officer’s personnel file. Such a “Pitchless motion” is typically used to determine if a defendant has been a victim of police misconduct. 

Williams has been in and out of courtrooms since his arraignment on Aug. 11, 2010 on weapons and attempted murder charges. He pleaded not guilty, and a series of pre-trial conferences and continuances followed.

His most recent appearance in Superior Court was on March 1 for a pre-trial conference, which was continued until June 14.

Williams was ordered to stand trial at his preliminary hearing nearly a year ago. His jury trial is set for Aug. 5. 

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is charging Williams with four counts of attempted murder of a police officer and multiple weapons violations.

If convicted, Williams faces life in prison as he is a “three strike” offender. His prior convictions are for federal bank robbery in 1992 and 2002, according to Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick.

Williams, who was living next door to his mother on the 9700 block of Smith Station Road in Groveland, was pulled over on Interstate 580 after swerving his 2006 Toyota Tundra.

He allegedly opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun as CHP officers approached his vehicle.

Officers retreated and returned fire. It’s estimated that more than 150 shots were fired during the exchange, which concluded with Williams surrendering after being shot numerous times. 

He was treated at Highland General Hospital before his arraignment.

ACLU spokesman Will Matthews said Thursday that the organization has not closely followed the case and thus declined to comment.

The Tides Foundation did not return a request for comment.