Six gangland murders in the Bay Area 37 years ago this summer set-off the first part of the notorious Oakland, California drug wars pitting wily west coast crime lord Felix (The Cat) Mitchell and his 69 Mob versus an upstart group known as The Family and led by R&B singer-turned-dope man Milton (Mickey Mo) Moore. Highlighting the killing spree was the grisly triple homicide of Family drug gang members Rickey (The Rocket) Walker, his younger brother Roger (Red) Walker and their sister-in-law Sandy Adamson on August 6, 1980. The tumult in the local drug game didn’t cease for years.

Centered in and around the San Antonio Villas and Acorn Apartments housing projects, Mitchell’s 69 Mob ruled the robust heroin market in Oakland and San Francisco in the late 1970s until his organization was challenged for the throne by Moore’s Family gang at the beginning of the following decade. The Walker brothers and Adamson were found slain on the morning of August 7, 1980 by a jogger on a grassy slope near Skyline Boulevard in a hilly section of an Oakland municipal-park called Colorado Trail, strangled and shot to death.

Red Walker, 18, and Adamson, 31, were discovered with plastic bags over their heads and died of asphyxiation. The 26-year old Rickey Walker died from two bullet wounds to the back of his skull, killed execution style. The lives of Vendetia Davis, Terry Hatter and Charles Dorsey were claimed by the unrest in the Bay Area underworld three days before.

Federal witnesses testified that members of Mitchell’s inner circle bragged of their involvement in the murders of the Walkers and Adamson. Mitchell told an associate of a trip to Los Angeles during the first week of August 1980 to create an alibi and avoid the heat from the string of hits that tipped off the month and placed his 69 Mob under even further scrutiny from law enforcement than normal.

Felix the Cat circa 1984

The 69 Mob was decimated by a forthcoming federal legal assault. The legendary Felix the Cat got locked up in 1985. He was killed inside his prison cell in 1986 – stabbed to death at 32 years old – and laid to rest in his hometown of Oakland in lavish fashion (horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin in a parade procession of over a dozen white-colored limousines and a half-dozen cream-colored Rolls Royces).

Mickey Moore and The Family were brought down in 1985 too. Moore is a preacher today.

In the years after Mitchell and Moore went away to the Big House, Mitchell’s nephew Darryl (Little D) Reed and his LDI Gang rose to the top of the mountain in the Bay Area drug trade, which by that time had shifted away from heroin and heavily into crack cocaine. When Reed got busted in 1988, the second part of the Oakland drug wars erupted out into the open, featuring an intense power struggle for control of the city’s lucrative crack industry fought between two of Reed’s former LDI lieutenants, Timothy (Timmy Black) Bluitt and Anthony (The Ant) Flowers and resulting in a reported 18 murders in less than three years.

Bluitt was Reed’s second-in-command, while Flowers was LDI’s volatile main enforcer and hit man. Both Bluitt and Flowers were imprisoned in the 1990s. Reed, 48, had his sentence commuted by President Barack Obama last year and walked free from federal custody in December 2016, having served 28 years behind bars for a non-violent drug crime.

Felix Mitchell’s funeral procession through the streets of Oakland in 1986

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