Suspect held after Antioch gas station clerk's slaying but no murder charge

A suspect has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a Chevron gas-station clerk in Antioch, but the suspected gunman won't face murder charges, prosecutors said Wednesday.

James Williams, 36, was killed in a chaotic gun battle at the Chevron at Contra Loma Boulevard and Fitzuren Road at about 2 a.m. Saturday.

"He didn't deserve this, and he was such a good guy, family man," said Annette Matamoroz, his girlfriend and co-worker who was in the store when he was killed.

"He just cared about my well-being. He cared about everybody's well-being," she said. "They took such a good person away from here. I don't understand why that happened."

Candles were lined up outside the store, a sign of respect for a devoted father who worked the overnight shift. 

Matamoroz said she and Williams had started out as friends and then grew closer while working together.

Williams was working as a clerk at the Extra Mile mini-mart on Contra Loma Boulevard when the violence broke out about 2 a.m. Saturday.

KTVU has learned that a man with a gun confronted Williams, who then pulled out a weapon of his own. 

Authorities say the suspect ran out of the store - dropping stolen cigar packages - and was a good distance away when Williams shot and wounded the suspect.

That suspect, Ronald Jackson Jr., 20, fell to the ground. Williams continued shooting and that's when Jackson allegedly returned fire, killing Williams.

Jackson is not being charged with murder because under the law, the killing could be considered self-defense. 

On Thursday, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton issued a statement on the charges, saying based on law, a person cannot pursue another to retrieve stolen property once the threat of bodily injury or harm to the victim has subsided.

"In the eyes of the law, Mr. Williams’ actions ceased to be self-defense when Mr. Williams pursued Mr. Jackson and the other suspect with a firearm — and continued to pursue Mr. Jackson after he shot him," Becton said in her statement. 

But prosecutors did charge Jackson with robbery.

"It was an action-packed scene, and I'm sure that James was acting in a way that he thought was, you know, was right," said Ken Raider, a friend of the victim.

"He was just a good guy, it was the eye contact, the way he treated me, you know he was just genuine,' Raider said.