18-year-old Emeryville woman found slain remembered as ‘amazing activist’; boyfriend being sought in connection with her death

June 7, 2012

(Reprinted from Oakland Tribune/Inside Bay Area

Posted:   06/06/2012 11:26:03 AM PDT
DeAngelo Eagleton of Emeryville is wanted in connection with the death of his girlfriend Taranda

EMERYVILLE — Taranda Monique Jones dreamed of becoming a cosmetologist, and with three sisters she practiced her hair styling and makeup techniques regularly.

But at 5 foot 8, she also had an athletic side, and did well at basketball at a former high school, said her older sister Tiffany Jones, 21.

But lately, the 18-year-old Emeryville resident hadn’t had much interest in either, “blinded by love,” and failing, her older sister said, to show up for school because of her rocky relationship with on-again, off-again boyfriend, DeAngelo Eagleton. And now Eagleton, also 18, is suspected of killing the teen earlier this week.

Eagleton, who has addresses in Emeryville and Oakland, is wanted on a probable cause warrant in connection with the shooting death of Taranda Jones. Jones was found with a gunshot wound to her upper torso in her home on 47th Street in Emeryville at 3:30 p.m. Monday, police said Wednesday. It was not clear who found her. Her parents were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

Citing an ongoing investigation, Emeryville police Officer Brian Head declined to release any information on why they suspect Eagleton in the woman’s death.

Tiffany Jones, of Richmond, said her sister and Eagleton met at Emery High School about a year ago, and there had been at least once instance where Taranda Jones had called in tears after the two quarreled. Jones said Eagleton pushed her sister against a wall once after finding a text message from a male friend.

“I’m just starting to think she was blinded by love, she didn’t see him as a bad person,” Jones said.

Cesar Cruz, the dean of students at ARISE High School in Oakland and the co-founder of Homies Empowerment, a group that offers after-school programs for at-risk youth, met Taranda Jones seven years ago through the Making Changes Freedom School in San Pablo.

He remembered her as an “amazing activist,” who organized a protest against uniforms at her middle school when she was 12 and later rallied against environmental pollution because one of her sisters had asthma.

“I was just so moved by her because she was a real visionary,” said Cruz, who also said he gave the teen a place to stay when family problems arose.

Cruz said Taranda Jones attended Ralph J. Bunche High School in Oakland, but the district could not confirm if she was still attending classes at the time of her death.

Oakland school district spokesman Troy Flint said the staff at the school were not up to speaking about the teen, but Flint added that in her seven months at the school she made “an impression as a very friendly, polite, personable girl and that (the principal) was very surprised to learn of her death.”

Her sister said that though the two lived apart, she always knew she had a friend in her younger sibling.

“Everyone looked up to her as a mentor and came to her for advice. I even came to her a few times when I had a problem,” she said. “She did my hair a few times, she was really good at it. I was encouraging her to go to beauty school in the Bay Area and she (had) called a few schools for appointments.”

Funeral services are pending.

Anyone with information about Eagleton’s whereabouts or the case should call Emeryville police at 510-596-3700.

Staff writer Harry Harris contributed to this report.

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