DA O’Malley Declines to File Charges Against Chinatown Store Owner

Alameda County District Attorney Declines to File Charges Against Chinatown Store Owner Who Fired Shots at Robbery Suspects

Oakland, CA- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley today announced that charges would not be filed against Chinatown liquor store owner Aaron Yee, who last month fired shots at multiple suspects attempting to rob a woman across the street from his shop. The DA is declining to file charges based on Mr. Yee’s justifiable use of force to defend the victim from a violent attack.

“The District Attorney’s Office does not condone vigilantism,” said District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. “However, after a thorough review of the facts of the incident, it is clear that Mr. Yee fired his weapon in lawful defense of the victim of the robbery or what appeared to be a possible kidnapping.”

On February 15th, at approximately 5:45 p.m. Mr. Yee interrupted an attack by multiple suspects against a woman who was on the street corner across from his Chinatown store. As the victim walked on 9th Street alone with her camera around her neck, two suspects jumped out of a vehicle and demanded her camera. The woman screamed and was pushed to the ground by one of the suspects as he attempted to take her camera.

Mr. Yee heard the screams of the woman being robbed, and drew his firearm. Mr. Yee has a valid concealed weapon carry permit. As Mr. Yee fired his weapon, the suspects ran towards the vehicle and drove away, hitting the victim as she lay on the ground. The suspects also veered toward Mr. Yee, narrowly missing him as they fled by car.

Mr. Yee remained on the scene, cooperated with Oakland Police Department Officers and was arrested on the scene. He later provided an out of custody statement to OPD investigators regarding the incident. After reviewing the case, the District Attorney’s Office has concluded that Mr. Yee’s actions fall under California’s Law of Self Defense and Defense of Others.

The robbery that occurred in front of Mr. Yee’s store comes during a substantial uptick in crime against Asian Americans in Oakland’s Chinatown and across Alameda County. The District Attorney’s Office has created a Special Response Team to address these crimes. The SRT, led by Assistant District Attorney Annie Saadi Esposito and Special Assistant to the District Attorney Rebecca Tse, includes prosecutors, Victim-Witness Advocates and members of the Oakland Asian community who can speak to victims in their native languages. All members of the SRT are fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin to better communicate with victims of crime who are Asian.

The important message to victims of crime: even if the perpetrator is not identified or caught, the District Attorney’s Office, Victim-Witness Advocates can still provide vital resources, support and assistance to help the victims recover from the crime. Visit the District Attorney Website ALCODA@acgov to learn more. The website is in multiple languages, including Chinese, Farsi, Spanish and others.

The robbery aspect of this case is still under investigation.

Contact: Public Information Officer Anna Kelly // Anna.Kelly@acgov.org // (510) 919-0081

Posted on Mar 2, 2021