Chauncey Bailey Project

Police take another look at 1982 slaying linked to bakery

In the bakery's kitchen where symbols of their Muslim faith are worn on the walls, the Brothers take part in a cleansing prayer called the "Rakas Salat" which is done in the kneeling position. (Nancy Pastor/Oakland Tribune)
In the bakery's kitchen where symbols of their Muslim faith are worn on the walls, the Brothers take part in a cleansing prayer called the "Rakas Salat" which is done in the kneeling position. (Nancy Pastor/Oakland Tribune)

In the bakery's kitchen where symbols of their Muslim faith are worn on the walls, the Brothers take part in a cleansing prayer called the "Rakas Salat" which is done in the kneeling position. (Nancy Pastor/Oakland Tribune)

By Josh Richman and Kristin Bender, Chauncey Bailey Project

Berkeley Police have re-opened the unsolved case of a Your Black Muslim Bakery employee found shotgunned to death 25 years ago.

Suspicions bakery associates might’ve been involved in the April 1982 slaying of Ronald Ronnell Allen, 31, jibes with sworn testimony given by one of the women who sued bakery founder and patriarch Yusuf Ali Bey for raping her.

“Ronald Allen was an employee of the Black Muslim Bakery and there were allegations by Mr. Allen’s family that members of the Black Muslim Bakery might have been involved or responsible for Allen’s death,” Berkeley Police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said Thursday.

With all the publicity that has swirled around the now-bankrupt bakery since bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard was charged with the Aug. 2 murder of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, homicide detectives decided several weeks ago to re-examine the case.

Asked Thursday whether police had tried to match four shotgun shells found near Allen’s corpse to either of the two shotguns seized in the Aug. 3 raid of the bakery’s headquarters, Kusmiss said she would have to ask detectives. A short while later, she called back and said it hadn’t been done yet but detectives had agreed “it would be very prudent to do that.”

Bakery patriarch Yusuf Bey died in late 2003 while facing criminal charges he’d raped several underage girls years earlier. Those victims also had filed a civil lawsuit against him, other bakery associates and Alameda County, the latter for failing to properly monitor their living conditions within the bakery family.

One of the “Jane Does” who sued Yusuf Bey testified at a February 2005 deposition she’d waited years to report the abuse, fearing she would be harmed just as had others who’d crossed Bey.

Such people had a way of turning up dead, she said.

“One was Rashid. He was found dead in the Berkeley Marina,” she testified. “I can’t tell you exactly the year, but I just know that he was one of the brothers that worked at the bakery that was doing a route for the bakery. And he was selling products off the bakery’s truck, and the next morning, he was dead. It was on a Sunday morning. I remember. It was said that he was dead at the marina – Berkeley Marina, dead … shot with his head off.”

Later in her testimony, the woman said “Rashid” was rumored to have been skimming money from his bakery delivery route.

Allen’s slaying fits this description neatly.

His bow-tied body was found early Sunday, April 12, 1982 near the entrance of the Berkeley city dump, which since has been landscaped into much of the dry land near the Berkeley marina.

A coroner’s report shows Allen had taken several blasts from a 12-gauge shotgun, including two to the head; four spent shells were found nearby.

His home address at the time was 5869 San Pablo Ave., which is across the street and down the block from Your Black Muslim Bakery’s headquarters. The coroner’s report said he was living there with the mother of his children, but another woman – Rashida Amin – said she was Allen’s wife by Muslim law. Her address was on the same block, on the bakery’s side of the street.

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