OAKLAND, Calif. – A veteran journalist and newspaper editor who was shot to death on his way to work reportedly received threats before he was murdered in what police are calling a premeditated hit, according to The Oakland Tribune.
According to the Tribune, witnesses say a masked man ambushed Bailey and shot him at least three times. The man then fled to an awaiting van and drove away. At least one of the shots hit him in the upper part of the body.
The Tribune reported that the killer knew Bailey's routine in the mornings and shot him before the news editor had any time to react.
Publisher of the Oakland Post, Paul Cobb, said both he and Bailey had received many threats over time but police have asked him not to comment in detail, the Tribune reported.
Oakland Police spokesman Roland Holmgren said police don't have a motive for the killing, but it did not appear to be random.
He also said it's not clear whether the attack had anything to do with Bailey's journalism work but investigators would be looking at that angle.
Early Friday police surrounded an Oakland eatery, Your Black Muslim Bakery, which Bailey reportedly had been researching before he was killed. 19 people have been detained after a yearlong investigation for violent crimes such as robbery, murder, and kidnapping.
It remained unclear whether the police activity was connected to the killing.
"All of those possibilities will have to be definitely explored and explored thoroughly," he said.
Bailey was shot multiple times in daylight near the county courthouse, Holmgren said. Witnesses to the shooting were cooperating in the investigation, but there were no suspects yet, police said.
Holmgren said the weapon used was not a handgun, but he would not disclose the gun's caliber.
Bailey was a familiar fixture on the local news scene, working at the Tribune for more than a decade and at other area media outlets, including KDIA-AM radio and cable channel Soul Beat TV. Before that, he worked for 10 years at the Detroit News.
In June, Bailey was named editor of the Post, a weekly publication geared toward the Bay Area black community.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said Bailey will be missed.
"It is a tragedy when any person loses his or her life by an act of violence. The crime and violence on Oakland streets presents me with the most painful and difficult challenge I've ever faced," Dellums said in a statement.
In a statement, Oakland Tribune managing editor Martin Reynolds called Bailey "a friend, a valued colleague and a loving father" whose coverage of Oakland's black community was "a tremendous asset" to the newspaper.
Reynolds said he saw Bailey only last week wearing his trademark suit and tie and "we chatted as we always did when we saw each other, and I congratulated him again on being named editor of the Post."
Bailey's death "has left all of us at the Oakland Tribune shocked and deeply saddened," Reynolds said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.