OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — On Friday afternoon, law enforcement sources confirmed that 73-year-old Nelson Chia — longtime boyfriend of Doctor Lili Xu’s who was shot and killed in August — died by suicide around 2 p.m.
Chia was one of the suspects arrested in what the Oakland Police Officers’ Association is calling a “murder-for-hire.” He was arrested just hours before his death.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said that Chia was assigned to a single-person holding cell while he awaited further processing and assignment to a housing unit. When deputies conducted a routine observation check of Chia, they noticed he was motionless and unresponsive.
“Jail medical staff and emergency medical responders immediately began life-saving measures but unfortunately, their efforts were unsuccessful. It appears Chia took his own life in the single-occupant holding cell. There are no indications of foul play or any other suspicious activities,” said the sheriff’s office in a statement.
The agency said detectives responded to the jail and have begun a thorough investigation, along with the Coroner’s Bureau and the Alameda County district attorney.
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Investigators allege that Xu was killed for money during a news conference on Friday.
“This case was not about race! This case was about greed,” said Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong in a statement. “Some tried to use this case as a way of dividing our community. My hope is we can come together and support Xu’s family and our community, who have all experienced this tragedy.”
The other suspect has been identified as 33-year-old Hasheem Bason of Stockton. Hasheem Bason may face life in prison without parole or the death penalty if convicted of the offenses that may be charged. He and Chia were expected to be charged with murder, among other offenses.
Xu was shot and killed in August in the city’s Little Saigon neighborhood, near Lake Merritt. Initially, investigators said the shooting was a robbery.
Armstrong said while Xu was exiting her parked vehicle, an older white, four-door Lexus pulled up, and an unknown individual exited the vehicle. The man fired multiple rounds, fatally striking Xu. Unfortunately, she died at a local hospital.
OPD said that over the last two months, homicide investigators worked tirelessly and diligently on the case, following up on tips from the community and exploring all investigative leads.
During the investigation, OPD uncovered evidence supporting the arrest of Chia, in what appears to be murder for hire, and Bason for his involvement in this heinous crime.
Before Chia was considered a suspect in the case he sat down for inclusive interview with ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim. During that conversation, Chia nearly collapsed after seeing the surveillance video of Xu’s killing where the sounds of her screams and gunshots could be heard.
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On Friday, those close to Xu told ABC7 News that they had suspected something was off with Chia but gave him the benefit of the doubt because of his tear-filled interview with Lim.
Bay City News contributed to this report.
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