Oakland Musician Dies After Being Robbed, Dragged 200 Yards by Car

An Oakland musician was killed Wednesday when he was first robbed and then dragged about 200 yards by a vehicle, police said.

The incident was reported around 12:35 p.m. in the 400 block of Rich Street in the Temescal neighborhood, according to police. Responding officers found a man, since identified as David Deporis, with severe injuries. 

The 40-year-old man was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

Police said the suspects stole Deporis' laptop and he chased after them to get it back. He was then caught underneath the suspects' vehicle and dragged down the narrow street.

Witnesses said Deporis was working on his laptop outside a cafe when a man grabbed his computer and took off running. The suspect then jumped into a waiting vehicle.

Nell Greenberg said she saw the getaway vehicle speed by her window. 

"Then I came outside after I heard a crash and saw this poor guy lying on the street," Greenberg said. "You wake up in the morning, and you take your laptop and you go to a coffee shop, and you just don't realize it's going to be the last day of your life."

Friend Danielle Garber and her children on Thursday visited a makeshift memorial for Deporis in Oakland to pay their respects.

"He is such a light. He was so lovely," Garber said. "He was just very connected with a lot of people."

Garber learned of Deporis' death on Facebook Wednesday.

The city's police department has launched a homicide investigation. Suspect information is not yet available.

"This is being investigated as a homicide," Councilman Dave Kalb said. "It’s not a simple hit and run or a robbery gone bad. This is a homicide."

An online search shows Deporis performing in multiple YouTube videos. His music was also found on SoundCloud. 

Musician Regina Spektor described the death of the "beautiful musician" as the "saddest news."

Singer-songwriter Adam Green echoed the sentiment.

"I'm still in shock," he wrote. "He was a powerful and imaginative folksinger and an exquisite person."

Deporis was also mourned by his friend, Seth Hebert-Faergolzia.

He wrote on Facebook: "Just found out my old friend Dave Deporis passed away. His music was so deeply heartfelt, his voice, strong and original, his performances lovely. The world just lost another great artist. Good luck in your next phase, Dave."

Many others who knew Deporis said they were "heartbroken" and expressed their condolences, prompting Hebert-Faergolzia to suggest creating a memorial album in their friend's honor. His idea was met with enthusiasm.

Condolences for Deporis poured in from fellow artists, music producers and others. According to social media, a memorial will be held on Sept. 9 at Sol Gate Studios in Oakland.

People with information about the case are asked to call the Oakland Police Department's Homicide Section at 510-238-3821.

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