Ex-police chief's estranged son could face death penalty in Oakland murder

The son of a retired Bay Area police chief, who was already on probation for the attack of an elderly Sikh man, appeared in court on Thursday. 

Tyrone McAllister, 19, and 28-year-old Dennis Evans were both charged with special circumstance in the shooting death of Janath Liyanage, 32, on Aug. 20 in the Uptown Oakland neighborhood.

McAllister made a brief court appearance. No plea was entered in the capital murder case. 

His attorney, Ernie Castillo said, "He's facing either the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole."

Oakland police say McAllister fired a single shot while robbing Liyanage on Thomas L. Berkeley Way near San Pablo Avenue. He died at a local hospital. 

Police say he escaped in a Honda Crosstour driven by Evans. Police say Evans told an acquaintance he and McAllister were looking for people to rob that night. 

About five hours before the shooting, police say two men followed a 67-year-old Jewelry store owner as he drove from Oakland's Chinatown to his home. 

Authorities say McAllister robbed the man at gunpoint of three bags of groceries. 

The victim told KTVU in a phone interview that he was shocked to learn the suspect's father was a police chief. 

He said, "It's unbelievable. the police are supposed to make people feel safe, and yet his son is doing this."

McAllister is the estranged son of ex-Union City Police Chief Darryl McAllister, who retired last December.

Last year his son was sentenced to jail and placed on probation for attacking and trying to rob a 71-year-old Sikh man in Manteca. 

In response to the attack, Darryl McAllister wrote a long and personal statement on the Union City Police Department's Facebook page,  saying he was "disgusted" and "devastated by how much the nature of his son's actions are such a departure from everything he has stood for in his personal life and 37 year career of compassionate, engaging police work."

Darryl McAllister continued: "Words can barely describe how embarrassed, dejected, and hurt my wife, daughters, and I feel right now. Violence and hatred is not what we have taught our children; intolerance for others is not even in our vocabulary, let alone our values. Crime has never been an element of our household, our values, nor the character to which we hold ourselves."

Darryl McAllister said his son began to lose his way a couple years ago, "running away and getting involved in a bad crowd. He pretty much divorced his friends and family, associating with people none of us knew. He got into trouble for some theft-related crimes and ended up spending several months in juvenile hall. As an adult, he was again arrested for a theft-related incident, and he ended up spending another three months in adult jail as a result. Since being released he has been wayward and has not returned to our family home for several months."