A white man has been arrested in connection with the robbery and murder of the famous Black singer and pianist, William Sims.
William Sims, a 28-year-old Black singer from Oakland, was found beaten and shot on the side of the road in El Sobrante on November 12, BET reports. His death is now being called a hate crime by police.
Three white men allegedly murdered Sims. Daniel Porter-Kelly was arrested on November 16 and charged. The other two accused, Ray Simons and Daniel Ortega, are still on the run from police.
Contra Costa County investigators believe Sims was targeted near a local pool hall. They claim the singer was bashed, robbed, and subsequently executed while attempting to flee. Porter-Kelly could be facing the death penalty if found guilty.
Black singer and pianist, William Sims was regarded as a talented musician before he passed. He played piano, saxophone, guitar and violin and was well respected in the San Francisco music scene.
— Crystal Johnson (@Crystal1Johnson) November 27, 2016
One suspected killer was in custody and detectives were scouring the Bay Area on Wednesday for two alleged accomplices in the slaying of an African American musician who investigators said was targeted because of his race, according to SF Gate.
Daniel Porter-Kelly, 31, of Richmond, was arrested Nov. 16 and charged with murder, robbery and the special circumstance of committing a racially motivated crime, which could bring the death penalty if he is convicted.
He is being held without bail at the Martinez Detention Facility in the death of 28-year-old William Sims of Richmond, who was found beaten and shot on an El Sobrante roadway Nov. 12.
Contra Costa County sheriff’s investigators believe Porter-Kelly and two other men — Ray Simons, 32, of Hercules, and Daniel Ortega, 31, of Novato — attacked and killed Sims outside a nearby pool hall.
Simons and Ortega remained at large Wednesday. Porter-Kelly’s Berkeley-based defense attorney, Seth Morris, declined to talk about the case. All three men are white.
The death shocked and horrified relatives and friends of Sims, a singer, guitarist and piano player who was described as a generous, friendly man who never harmed anyone.
“He was a very kind and loving person,” said his sister, Stacey Sims, 33, who lived with her brother and parents in a neat suburban home in a quiet subdivision in eastern Richmond. “He loved music. He loved making friends. He was the best brother a sister could ever have. It’s been very difficult. It still seems unreal.”
His parents, Bill and Renee Sims, set up a memorial for their son with photographs and written condolences in the entryway of their house. A table with graduation pictures, cards and a basket of flowers was in the living room, where their son regularly played a baby grand piano.
These hate crimes are becoming daily since Trump won
Will Sims: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know https://t.co/aZumANcsiR
— CaptainsLog2016 (@CaptainsLog2016) November 24, 2016
“We want to have justice,” said a somber Bill Sims, 72, about his namesake son. “It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. He was not aggressive. He was never involved in any violence. He was always trying to befriend people, maybe to a fault.”
Investigators believe Sims was inside the Capri Club — a pool hall and bar in the 4100 block of Appian Way in El Sobrante — in the early morning hours of Nov. 12 when the suspects jumped, robbed, beat and then shot him as he attempted to escape.
A sheriff’s sergeant came across Sims’ body in the street near the pool hall just after 2 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Sims, who worked in retail, had no gang ties or criminal history, said Jimmy Lee, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
Police have been searching for Simons and Ortega since Friday, when they raided the condominium in Novato owned by Ortega’s 54-year-old mother, Renee Brown. Detectives arrested Brown on suspicion of interfering with the investigation. She is being held on $500,000 bail.
rest in piece william sims. i am thinking of and praying for his family and community.
— ebt (@chkentndrs) November 24, 2016
Neighbors said Ortega is “a big, quiet guy” who has recently been seen only occasionally at the home, which is in the Meadow Park area of the former Hamilton Field military base.
“He’s been nothing but polite, helpful and friendly,” said Laura Dimond, who lives next door with her husband, Bob. “I’m shocked to hear this, really.”
The three suspects in the killing were well known in the El Sobrante neighborhood where the crime occurred.
Saleem Ismail, the manager of Appian Food and Liquor, across the street from the Capri Club, said he has seen all three suspects in his store “many times.” He and the local library provided surveillance footage to sheriff’s investigators, who apparently used the video to identify the alleged killers.
A memorial will be held for Sims at 1 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Hilltop Green Club House, 1095 Parkside Drive, in Richmond.
The barbaric acts of white racists put all Black people at risk; old or young, male or female; famous or not famous. For this reason, there is a need we all stand together against this awful and atrocious act. These men must be found and made to pay the full penalty of their crime. Our condolences go to the family of the talented Black singer and pianist, William Sims.