A Richmond man was arraigned on special circumstances murder charges on Wednesday for allegedly killing an employee at a San Leandro food supply warehouse by striking the employee with his pickup truck after the employee tried to stop him from stealing wood pallets.
Kadeem Edwards is accused in the Monday death of 54-year-old Takeshi Watanabe of San Leandro, who was an employee at the True World Foods San Francisco warehouse at 1815 Williams St. in San Leandro for 23 years.
Watanabe was struck and killed at about 11:45 a.m. after he got into an altercation with another man, later identified as 27-year-old Kadeem Edwards of Richmond, in the rear area where trucks load food products for delivery, San Leandro police spokesman Lt. Robert McManus said.
Edwards, who is being held without bail, is charged with murder and the special circumstance of committing a murder during the commission of a robbery.
San Leandro police Detective Michael Benz wrote in a probable cause statement that Edwards was stealing wood pallets from True World Foods and had placed them in the bed of his pickup truck when Watanabe ran out to confront him, standing in front of Edwards' pickup, placing both of his hands on the front of the pickup and bracing his legs behind him as if he were preventing the vehicle from moving forward.
Edwards quickly entered his vehicle and started to drive forward, pushing Watanabe backwards, and after going about 15 or 20 feet he accelerated and Watanabe was pulled underneath the pickup, according to Benz.
Edwards continued to accelerate toward the warehouse's exit while dragging Watanabe underneath his pickup, Benz said.
Watanabe was finally dislodged from the vehicle after it went about 100 feet and Edwards continued toward the exit and fled the area, according to Benz.
The incident was captured by video surveillance that was shared with Oakland police, Benz said. At about 5 p.m. on Monday officers spotted the pickup truck in question on East 12th Street near 47th Avenue in Oakland, near a pallet recycling business, he said.
Edwards fled on foot but after a short time officers found him hiding underneath a nearby vehicle and arrested him, according to Benz.
Witnesses identified both Edwards and his pickup truck as being involved in the incident, Benz said.
When San Leandro officers interviewed Edwards, he confessed to stealing the wood pallets and to running over Watanabe with his pickup truck, according to Benz.
Edwards is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward on Nov. 2 to finalize his legal representation and possibly enter a plea.