OAKLAND, Calif. - A 19-year-old has been arrested and charged in an alleged robbery and death of a well-known baker in Oakland, according to authorities.
Ishmael Jenkins Burch, 19, of San Francisco, was charged with murder and second-degree robbery by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office in the killing of Jen Angel in February. Burch also faces one battery charge for a second robbery nearby on the same day. He was arrested June 2. Burch is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
Angel was the proud owner of the well-known bakery, Angel Cakes, which sits on the corner of Fifth Street in Oakland.
On Feb. 6, Angel was sitting in her car in the parking lot of Wells Fargo Bank, near 21st and Webster streets in downtown Oakland when someone broke into her car and grabbed her purse. Angel tried to get her belongings back but was dragged by the suspect's car and hit her head on the pavement.
She died three days later.
Detectives identified Burch as the driver of that car, as well as the suspect in a second robbery nearby on that same day.
For months authorities had been working to find a suspect in the case with Crime Stoppers offering a $10,000 reward.
Angel created her famed Oakland cupcake shop in 2008. The community activist credited her mother, Pat, with teaching her everything she knew about baking.
She was also a longtime community activist who did not believe in incarceration. Friends said she would not want those responsible to be in jail.
After news of Burch's arrest, Angel's estate released a statement that read in part:
Ishmael Burch is being held in no bail in the killing of well-known baker, Jen Angel.
"To believe in restorative justice and transformative justice is to believe in a deeper and more effective form of accountability than is possible under our current criminal legal system," the statement read. Later adding," We honor Jen Angel’s life, legacy, and values by saying no to incarceration, policing, state violence, and perpetuating cycles of harm in her name."
Friends say the Burch's arrest reopened painful memories as they try to heal from the loss.
"It brought up a lot of more memories and emotions about the loss of Jen. I think for myself, I was starting to get to a place of still having moments of grief hitting me," said Angel's close friend Moira Birss.
Friends say Angel loved life and reached out to find humanity in everyone she met.
"Hopefully…we're not defined by the worst thing we've ever done, and that the possibility for redemption and for her healing and care for each other and mutual support is really, was really, important to Jen," said Birss.
Angel's friends say that they have been working with restorative justice organizations, including Restore Oakland.
Burch has a plea hearing scheduled for July 14.