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Man charged with fatally shooting UC Berkeley student in back of the head

Suspect has a long rap sheet

Prosecutors have charged a suspect in the June 15 fatal shooting of UC Berkeley student Seth Smith.

Smith was walking around midnight near his apartment after moving back to school when police say he was shot in the back of the head just a mile from campus.

A press release from the Berkeley Police Department said officers arrested Tony Walker, a 60-year-old black man and resident of Berkeley, on August 20 on “suspicion of murder.” The press release does not mention Walker’s race but a police department mugshot of Walker shows that he is black.

The press release did not detail what information was used to lead the police to Walker. The city of Berkeley had offered $50,000 for information leading to a conviction.

The shooting took place as racial unrest gripped the nation after the death of George Floyd. Police have not said if race was a motive.

The Alameda County prosecutor’s office charged Walker with murder and “a number of criminal enhancements,” according to the police department.

MORE: Police probe murder of UC Berkeley student

Mercury News reported that prosecutors also charged Walker with “possession of a firearm by a felon,” “carrying a loaded firearm on one’s person in a city,” and “possession of ammunition by a prohibited person.”

Berkeleyside reported that Walker has a long rap sheet that includes an arrest in 2019 for allegedly attempting to break into a woman’s home. That charge was dismissed as part of a plea deal relating to a different case, but no further details are available, according to the paper.

The Berkeley-based paper reported on numerous other convictions, including a 2016 probation charge after a “felony gun arrest” for which a judge sentenced Walker to several months in jail and “five years of felony probation.”

In 1982, “Walker was charged with assault with a semiautomatic firearm and other violations related to an incident in October,” but that case was dismissed under a plea deal, the paper reported.

A decade later, “Walker was charged with felony vehicle theft, but the case was ultimately dismissed,” according to a review of court records by Berkeleyside.

The paper said Walker was convicted in 2001 for a felony assault with a weapon. In 2013, “Walker was also placed on two years of probation in connection with a misdemeanor DUI conviction.”

The Alameda County District Attorney’s office did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request from The College Fix to verify Walker’s criminal record.

Smith was set to graduate in Spring 2021 with a degree in history and economics, according to a Berkeleyside article in June.

“I can not rest until I know why my son Seth was taken from us. He enjoyed walking. He’d always been a night owl kid. He should not have been shot in the back of the head for walking on his street,” Smith’s mother told the paper at the time.

MORE: After petition says cops make campus unsafe, perpetrator kills man on campus

IMAGES: Berkeley Police Department / Michelle Rode-Smith

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.