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By Nozipo Wobogo

East Palo Alto Today
December 21, 2010

In the presence of residents, various city officials, police officers and the friends and family of David Lewis, San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer announced that Gregory Elarms had been arrested in connection with Lewis’ murder. The investigation by the San Mateo Police Department had been conducted over a period of several months and contained a $50,000 reward for information leading to the shooter’s identity.

Lewis, an ex-prisoner and recovered drug addict, was well known by the community of East Palo Alto for his tireless work with others who, similar to him, were caught in the cycle of crime and substance abuse. Lewis founded Free At Last to further the mission of aiding many more to break the cycle. Tragically, Lewis lost his life to a gunman’s bullet on June 9, 2010 in parking lot of the Hillsdale Shopping Mall.

Ironically, Lewis’ alleged killer Gregory Elarms, who has a significant criminal record, was just the sort of person Free At Last was designed to assist. Fifty-eight year old Elarms was acquainted with Lewis and according to Chief Manheimer, he was a Pittsburg resident with ties to East Palo Alto.

Elarms had spoken to the police about the murder, but, according to them, he lied about his involvement and had remained in the area rather than fleeing. With more evidence collected and with further contact with Elarms, the police said that more pieces fell into place and the dots were finally connected well enough for them to detain him this past Sunday. Elarms was arraigned on Tuesday.

So far, there has been no motive determined for the shooting, but from the evidence collected so far, the police believe Elarms acted alone. Chief Manheimer indicated that her department is comfortable that they have taken the right person into custody. When asked if anyone would be getting the $50,000 reward, Chief Manheimer said, “I don’t see that.”

Manheimer thanked Chief Ron Davis of the East Palo Alto Police Department for his department’s help as well as any members of the community who were able to give tips in the case. She also commented on how impressed she was with the relationship Chief Davis has been able to build with East Palo Alto residents.

“This is a Christmas gift to the community. David’s family will sleep well tonight,” said Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, who also praised the police for their “overwhelming vigilance.” When asked if she felt good about the apprehending of the man who probably murdered her father, Shayvonne Lewis answered, “It won’t bring him back, but yes.”

Read Nozipo Wobogo' article on East Palo Alto Today on Facebook.


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