I-580 shooter faces additional felony charges 

A Tuolumne County man learned Wednesday he faces two additional charges in connection with his shootout with California Highway Patrol officers on Interstate Highway 580 in Oakland early Sunday.

Byron Williams, 45, of Groveland, was apparently headed to kill people at two nonprofits in San Francisco when CHP officers made an enforcement stop of his Toyota Tundra at 11:57 p.m. Saturday on westbound Highway 580 near Harrison Street.

When the officers tried to contact Williams, a 12-minute-long gun battle ensued. Williams, armed with three guns, including a .308-caliber rifle that can penetrate ballistic body armor and vehicles, eventually surrendered and exited the vehicle.

Williams was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court Tuesday on four counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He received enhancements for wearing body armor.

He appeared in court again today for a plea entry hearing and learned the Alameda County District Attorney's Office filed two additional felony charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The three counts are for each of the three firearms Williams had in the truck: a 9 mm handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun, and the .308-caliber rifle.

Williams, who is being represented by the Alameda County Public Defender's Office, did not give a plea due to the new charges. The plea entry hearing was rescheduled for Aug. 11.

He is also eligible to be sentenced according to the state's three strikes law after he was convicted of robbing a bank in King County, Wash., in August 1995, and one in Madera County, California, in December 2001.

Williams was pulled over on his way to San Francisco to shoot members the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and Tides, an organization that advocates progressive social change through philanthropy, police said Tuesday.

He was shot an unknown number of times and was taken to Highland Hospital, where he told authorities that he wanted "to start a revolution" by shooting high-ranking members of the two organizations, according to a probable cause statement filed with the court.

Two CHP officers were taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries after the exchange.

A white binder was also found with the word "California" on the front in the truck, but police have not released information about the binder's contents.

It's not clear why those two organizations were targeted except that conservative media commentators often accuse them of having left-wing agendas.

On a June 13 show on Fox News, host Glenn Beck said the Tides Foundation was an organization "using failing capitalism to destroy it."

Tides Foundation CEO Drummond Pike released a statement saying that, to the best of their knowledge, Williams had never had any contact with the organization.

"We are relieved that no one other than the assailant was hurt seriously in the incident, and we are relieved that he was prevented from carrying out his misguided plans, whatever they may have been," Pike said.

"This incident serves to remind us that it should be the obligation of every American, especially those whose voices are amplified by the media, to foster civil discourse and dialogue among those who may disagree about public matters," he said. "One does not win an argument by inciting unbalanced people to violence."

The Oakland Police Department's homicide unit is conducting the criminal investigation into the shootout, and the CHP is carrying out an administrative investigation. The FBI is also assisting and determining if any federal charges will be sought against Williams.

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