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Second suspect arrested in hate crime killing of East Bay musician

A second man has been arrested in connection with the racially motivated killing of a black musician outside an East Bay bar, authorities said.

Detectives learned on Saturday that Ray Simons — one of three men named in the death of William Sims Jr. — was already in custody at the Monterey County Jail in Salinas, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office. The 32-year-old Hercules resident had been booked in connection with a separate domestic incident, but had given a fake name when he was booked into jail, authorities said.

“A check of his fingerprints revealed his true identity,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

From left, Daniel Ortega, Daniel Porter-Kelly and Ray Simons are named in the killing of an East Bay musician, deputies said. Simons and Porter-Kelly have been arrested.
From left, Daniel Ortega, Daniel Porter-Kelly and Ray Simons are named in the killing of an East Bay musician, deputies said. Simons and Porter-Kelly have been arrested.
(Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office )

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He was then transported to the Martinez Detention Facility, where he was held on suspicion of murder, robbery, shooting at a person from a vehicle and intimidating a witness. Simons is being held without bail.

Simons is the second suspect to be arrested in the Nov. 12 slaying. Four days after the killing, Daniel Porter-Kelly, 31, of Richmond was arrested and held without bail. Prosecutors charged him with murder and robbery as well as a hate crime enhancement.

The Sheriff’s Office is still looking for Daniel Ortega, who they said is “considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.” The 31-year-old East Bay resident is wanted on suspicion of robbery and murder, authorities said.

A sheriff’s sergeant found Sims at about 2:11 a.m., lying on the road in the area of Appian Way and Garden Lane in El Sobrante, authorities said. The 28-year-old Richmond resident was beaten and shot to death.

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Investigators think that Sims had been at the Capri Club in the 4100 block of Appian Way earlier that night and had been robbed by the three men because of his race, authorities said.

Sims was an aspiring musician who played piano and had no gang ties or criminal history, sheriff’s officials said. He worked in retail in his hometown.

Shortly after Sims’ death, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt denounced the killing, calling it a “horrible tragedy” for the city.

“As we work to strengthen our city by bringing people together, we must acknowledge heinous acts of hatred, hostility, and violence that occur in our community and nation as a whole,” he said in a statement.

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Sims’ family has established a memorial fund on Go Fund Me.

“His life was taken by three individuals who targeted and murdered Will for no other reason than the color of his skin,” his cousin, Michelle Smith, wrote. “We have lost a beloved member of our family, there are no words for this senseless killing.”

She described Sims as a gentle, talented musician with a kind heart.

“We have a missing link in our world today, he was so kind and loving, he cared about people,” she wrote. “His death leaves a void in the world of his family and friends.”

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Anyone with any details about Ortega’s whereabouts is urged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (925) 646-2441. To remain anonymous, call (866) 846-3592 or send information to tips@so.cccounty.us.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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