The Other McCain

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Aspiring Rapper Update: Mom Shocked by the Unexpected Death of ‘Lil Theze’

Posted on | November 6, 2021 | Comments Off on Aspiring Rapper Update: Mom Shocked by the Unexpected Death of ‘Lil Theze’

Say hello to Desoni “Lil Theze” Gardner, 20, and while you’re at it, you can also say good-bye, because Lil Theze was shot to death last month at a gas station in Oakland, California. According to Vibe magazine:

Lil Theze was affiliated with Vallejo rap group, SOB x RBE, a group featured on the Black Panther soundtrack with their song, “Paramedic!” Lil Theze rose to fame with his collaboration, “Hashtag,” with SOB x RBE’s Daboii.

To say that someone “rose to fame” implies a level of success and notoriety that I’m not sure Lil Theze obtained during his brief lifetime, but he certainly deserves to be known for the manner of his death.

However much money Lil Theze made after he “rose to fame” as a rapper, his musical earnings were apparently insufficient to meet his financial needs, because on the afternoon of Oct. 21, he and two accomplices were cruising around Oakland in a black 2007 Nissan Sentra looking to rob somebody. They found an intended victim — an older man, driving a white late-model Porsche, who was getting gas at a Chevron station on Castro Street, just off I-980. They chose poorly.

Ersie Joyner, 52, retired from the Oakland Police Department in 2019, after a 28-year law-enforcement career in which he rose from patrolman to captain leading the city’s homicide unit, where he led more than 300 murder investigations. After his retirement, Joyner became a businessman in the (now legal in California) cannabis industry.

Lil Theze and his crew evidently had no idea who they were trying to rob. All they saw was a man pumping gas into a Porsche, and figured he must have some valuables worth stealing. But as an Oakland native who was very familiar with the dangers of the city’s streets, Ersie Joyner certainly would never go anywhere in Oakland unarmed.

Surveillance video captured the outcome of Lil Theze’s final crime. If you’ll watch that video carefully, Desoni “Lil Theze” Gardner is the one dressed in all black, clearly the leader of this robbery gang, who first approaches Joyner. At the five-second mark, the weapon in Gardner’s right hand is visible. Joyner is clearly paying attention to his surroundings, and turns to look at Gardner as soon as he comes around the back of the Nissan. Joyner has his cellphone in his left hand. From that point, about 30 seconds elapse during which Joyner makes no resistance to the robbery, until Gardner opens the right rear door of the Porsche. Joyner then steps back toward the rear of the car, and at the 38-second mark, draws his concealed pistol. He fires first at Gardner’s accomplice in the red hoodie, then shoots Gardner. By that time, the third robber (black coat, white pants) is driving off in the Nissan, and Joyner gets a shot or two off at him before the getaway driver returns fire. Here’s a report from the San Francisco NBC affliate:


Joyner was shot six times but survived. Gardner died at the scene, and police are still looking for the dead rapper’s accomplices.

By far the most interesting aspect of the story, however, was the reaction of the mother of the dead rapper/robber:

The mother of a young man shot dead by a retired Oakland police captain said her son was wrong to rob the man, but questions whether use of deadly force was necessary.
“I want to apologize to everyone in the Oakland community who was affected by that situation,” Trepania Williams told the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday of the robbery attempt on Oct. 21. “But death was not the answer.”
Her 20-year-old son, Desoni Gardner of Vallejo, was identified by authorities as one of three people who tried to rob Ersie Joyner as he pumped gas near downtown Oakland on Oct. 21. Joyner pulled out a gun and fired at the assailants, killing Gardner, before being shot and wounded as the other two suspects fled in a car.
“I understand my son was wrong but he’s already been held accountable,” Williams said. She said she has watched surveillance camera footage of the shootout numerous times and wants more scrutiny placed on Joyner, “who took the initiative to shoot and kill.” . . .
Gardner is the second son Williams has lost to gun violence in just over a year. Her older son, Demazhe Gardner, was killed in July 2020. The brothers were rap musicians and had recorded several songs and appeared in music videos.

You see that the acorns did not fall far from the oak. Evidently, this woman raised her sons to believe that (a) robbery is an acceptable career choice, and (b) it’s wrong for victims to fight back.

Aspiring Rapper
North American euphemism for a member of the urban criminal class. This unusual occupation is usually mentioned in conjunction with the subject either being slain or being taken into custody for a violent or property-related crime. A relative of the subject usually points out that the subject’s demise or incarceration comes at an extremely inopportune moment, occurring just as the subject was “turning they(sic) life around.”

The aspiring rapper “rose to fame” and became an expiring rapper.



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