OAKLAND, Calif. – A gun linked to the slaying of an Oakland journalist was seized during raids early Friday targeting members of a Black Muslim group that operates a chain of bakeries, police said.
Colleagues said Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey, 57, had been working on a story about Your Black Muslim Bakery before he was ambushed and killed Thursday morning in downtown Oakland. Witnesses said a masked gunman shot Bailey near the county courthouse around 7:30 a.m. Thursday and fled.
Oakland police Lt. Ersie Joyner said he believes the seven people arrested Friday include those responsible for Bailey’s death.
Police say that they still do not have a motive for Bailey’s killing and that they had no knowledge that he was working on a story about the bakery.
Before dawn, officers raided the Muslim group’s headquarters at the bakery and three houses in Oakland.
The seven arrests were on charges including homicide, robbery and assault, but it was unclear whether any of those charges were tied directly to Bailey’s slaying.
“The search warrant yielded several weapons and other evidence of value including evidence linking the murder of Chauncey Bailey to members of the Your Black Muslim Bakery,” Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said, adding the raids were part of a yearlong investigation into a variety of violent crimes.
Joseph Debro, who writes a column for the Oakland Post, said Bailey had recently asked him for information about Your Black Muslim Bakery’s financial troubles for a story Bailey was writing.
“To him it was just another story,” Debro said. “He wasn’t apprehensive or anxious about it at all. He said he was working on a bunch of stories, and this was one.”
Your Black Muslim Bakery was founded in 1968 by the late Yusuf Bey as a haven for struggling urban families. It sells natural baked goods alongside books by Malcolm X and other black leaders.
Bailey was a longtime reporter for the Oakland Tribune before becoming editor of the Post, a weekly newspaper geared toward the Bay Area black community, earlier this year.
He had written stories for the Tribune about the bakery and its founder when Bey was facing rape charges.
Most of those charges were later dropped, although one was still pending when Bey died in 2003.