Oakland police reveal name of teen who allegedly killed Uber driver last year

OAKLAND — An Oakland police detective revealed the name of a teen accused of killing an Uber driver during an attempted carjacking last year, while testifying against the teen’s co-defendant in a preliminary hearing, court records show.

Oakland police Detective Yun Zhou said that authorities identified Tristen Bengco, 17, as the teen who shot and killed 52-year-old Kon Woo Fung, while attempting to rob Fung on the morning of July 17, 2022, near the intersection of East 22nd Street and 13th Avenue in Oakland. Bengco is being prosecuted as a juvenile, while his adult co-defendant, 20-year-old Major Willis, has been charged with murder and carjacking in adult court.

Willis’ preliminary hearing last month revealed that after the shooting, he and Bengco allegedly travelled to San Francisco and stayed in an abandoned townhouse in an attempt to lay low after the homicide. During the time they were on the lam, the two argued about what went wrong during the incident, a person they were with would later tell police, Zhou testified.

Fung’s killing was publicly decried by then-police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, who took the step of releasing actual footage of Fung being killed in an attempt to identify the suspects. The footage shows two figures, one wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt, run up to Fung’s Silver sedan and order Fung out of it, at which point a gunshot is heard. The entire incident lasted a few seconds.

Zhou said that another officer who’d been monitoring Bengco and Willis’ Instagram pages identified the yellow hoodie from a video on Bengco’s Instagram and contacted homicide investigators. They also received an anonymous tip implicating Willis, Zhou testified.

Willis gave an interview in which he identified Bengco as the shooter and insisted there were no plans to kill anyone, though he said he knew Bengco was armed. He also told police they were after Fung’s phone, not his car, Zhou testified.

Zhou was the lone witness at the preliminary hearing, which lasted two sessions in late August.

Willis’ public defender, George Arroyo, argued at the hearing’s end that Willis couldn’t be prosecuted for murder in light of SB 1437, a 2019 law change that limits when prosecutors can file murder charges against an accused robber who didn’t personally kill anyone. Under the current statute, a defendant must have either ordered the killing or have acted with reckless indifference to human life for a murder count to stand.

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