Longtime Bay Area journalist Chauncey Bailey was shot and killed this morning on a downtown Oakland street by a masked man who jumped into a waiting van that sped off, police said. Police said they suspected it was a contract killing by a hit man, according to the LA Times. The Times quotes Oakland police spokesman Roland Holmgren as saying investigators were treating the crime as a contract killing “because of the witness statements, the shooter’s mannerisms and how the crime was committed.”

Bailey (right) was a reporter for 12 years at the Oakland Tribune and this summer became editor of the Oakland Post, a black newspaper. Friends and colleagues at both papers were shocked by his murder. Above, Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb stands near the corner of 14th and Alice streets, where Bailey was gunned down.

The following is from the Oakland Tribune’s report posted at 2:27 p.m.:

    Friends and co-workers from the Oakland Post arrived on the scene when they heard the news, and were at a loss to explain the brazen attack.

    “I can’t believe this is Chauncey,” said local filmmaker and community activist Dedoceo Habi, who lives and works in the downtown area. “I worked with him on a couple of projects in the community, working to create opportunities for youth to get them off the streets,” he said. “I know there was some controversy in his past, but he was working hard to do something good.” …

    “He wrote about politics. He was a good writer. I don’t know if he made somebody mad or something,” said a tearful Gwendolyn Carter who works in advertising at the Post and had known Bailey for about a year in the small 10-person office of the weekly newspaper at 14th and Franklin streets. “He was just promoted as the editor. He was so nice to me. I don’t understand this,” she said. …

    Tribune Managing Editor Martin Reynolds talked with Bailey last week, when they saw each other at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza outside Oakland City Hall. “Chauncey was a unique and dedicated journalist who always captured the essence of the stories on his beat,” Reynolds said. “He was passionate about his work, he loved his son and would often bring him into the Tribune newsroom.”

• Sign a condolence book for Chauncey Bailey (established by the Oakland Tribune)

(Photo credits: Top, D. Ross Cameron, The Oakland Tribune; middle, Oakland Tribune file)

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