Shots fired on Sacramento

Berkeleyside reader Thomas Lord sends in the following:

Shortly after 2 p.m. on this last day of August approximately 10 shots rang out on Sacramento St. in Berkeley. No injuries are reported although an occupied vehicle driven by a resident of the neighborhood was struck through the rear window. The south-bound portion of Sacramento St. in that area is currently shut down while police investigate.

Update Sergeant Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police Department reports that the incident occurred on the 2900 block of Stanton. The rear window of a vehicle was shattered. Investigations are underway. As Thomas Lord notes in the comments below, the incident was on Sacramento between Ashby and Russell.

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  • Prodigal Song

    Longstanding problem in South Berkeley yet the Max Anderson and the City Council in general spend more time making national and international pronouncements than making sure that all Berkeley citizens have the quality of life (including safety) that folks in North Berkeley enjoy.

  • Ned Rex

    What was the cross street of this shooting?

  • Lance, your new information is incorrect. I am certain. Please note the photo that I sent you showing the location of the shell casings. Please note that I overheard victim interviews. Something has gotten muddled as the report filtered up through Sgt. Kusmiss, through you, to the update. (I’ll send you my phone number in email and call me if you like: I can explain how the misunderstanding occured.)

  • Rex: it was between Russel and Ashby on Sacramento and I would describe it as a “shots fired” rather than a shooting in the sense that (so far as anyone on the scene could tell me) nobody was hit.

  • laura menard

    Heard the shots, stopped myself from counting so I could pretend it wasn’t happening. Ahhh the joys of denial….

    Stanton is parallel to Sacramento, one block west.

    Daytime shootings in the same block a few summers ago, connected to other “gunplay”near San Pablo park and over a few blocks at Acton/Carrison St.

    Max Anderson is useless and a bully. Recently I was shocked to see an emails to the council and city officials was actually responded to by Anderson.

    Of course he ignored the serious policy concerns, but he did call me a racist. Gee Max, can’t you even try and be original.

  • Jane Superstar

    Lance, Can you and Berkeleyside do an investigative piece on why so many shootings in a very small radius lately? Berkeleyside readers (and Berkeley residents) deserve to know. As a previous poster said, those of us in South Berkeley deserve just as safe a neighborhood as those in North Berkeley.

  • cwm

    I live in South Berkeley (i’m a home owner) and actually heard the recent execution of Marcus Mosely as it happened. So, I’m part of the area too, but the fact that there were a few stray shots on Sacramento is really not a huge deal. Ok, you’re scared, i’m sorry, but, realisticly speaking, Berkeley is quite safe (that includes South Berkeley) and you are much more likely to get run over by a car than shot down. So, relax, we live in one of the most beautiful, progressive, and wealthy places on earth.

  • Jane Superstar

    My comment is also in response to the recent fatal shootings that have been occurring in South Berkeley. I think it’s fair to ask the fabulous Berkeleyside to investigate these shootings — maybe it will shed some light on what is happening.

  • Jane,

    What kind of investigation do you have in mind? And what kind of explanation – what kind of answer to “why?” – do you mean?

  • Jane Superstar

    Just wondering if there’s a reason why there have been so many shootings (and shots) lately. There was one on Milvia near the library in July, a couple weeks ago at Oregon and Sacramento, and then this one today. There have also been a couple near the Oakland city limits around 67th, etc. (but I haven’t been keeping track of those). Perhaps it’s all just a coincidence but maybe it’s not?

  • So, Jane,

    My non-scientific opinion: Because of poor social policy preparation for peak oil.

  • Lo


    I live a few blocks away from Sac/Russell and shots fired in my neighborhood doesn’t reassure me one bit. Sorry. It IS a big deal that these shots are fired a few blocks away from my local park (where my kids play).

  • Jane Superstar

    Thomas, Even with Biofuel Oasis so close?

  • laura menard


    I have witnessed at least a dozen shootings/homicides directly near and within a very short distance of my home, person, or children while living in south Berkeley.

    This is not a safe neighborhood, however you define “progressive”.

    My kid who grew here was home two weeks ago. I was bragging about how few shootings occurred during the last three years trying to paint a positive picture, he laughed saying “sure”, a couple hours later gunfire.

    Just a couple of experiences I doubt you have ever considered happen to your fellow citizens:

    Have you exited your front door heading to your basement to do the laundry and seen a robbery suspects shooting at an OPD cop and then head into your neighbor’s yard to jump the fence, oh that was at 10am. Has your home been locked down while an armed search for suspects involved in multiple murders keeps you unable to come or go for over two hours. Have you gotten calls from the neighbor the local store owners after a shooting occurred and his wife is panicked because she watch the shooters chase their prey into his store where they ran cover. Have you convinced the idiot kid on the corner to give up dealing after he was shot in the leg, oh yea, he is a college grad. Have you been walking home one block from a neighborhood meeting when fat Rob was shot in the ass right in front of you less than half a block a way.

    Live in your own fantasy world, and by the way, what’s up with Milvia St residents? nobody could bother to clean up the litter and dog poop at the Mosley memorial site one month after the homicide. I had to call public works three times to get the debris cleaned up, broken glass from liquor bottles, torn flyers blowing apart, dried up flower bouquets a month old tied and wilting on the telephone pole, two piles of dog poop, and more.

    Oh I guess that is beauty to a progressive, a long with the unkempt sidewalks.

  • Jane, they have many of the right ideas, in my unscientific opinion. Late to the game and small but, sure, an example of a bunch of smart moves all collected in one place. Not so much on them but in the same spirit re other ventures we need (in my unscientific…. yadda yadda) some emphasis on local job creation that ties into that response to peak oil. And I don’t really much mean stuff like solar installation jobs — I mean things like manufacturing, hmm… how about pedicabs for local consumption and export? (There is at least one local firm that actually does that example, to some small extent, already.)

  • cwm

    well, I still assert that A) Berkeley is exceptionally safe and B) that you’re far more likely to get hit by a car than shot down.

    Have I been shot at? Yeah. Have I had friends killed? Yeah, six of them. But that doesn’t change the facts of the matter.

  • cwm

    I want to add that while I’m not trying to make light anyone’s fears, you really do have to put things in perspective. I lived in Emeryviille (35th and San Pablo) back in the mid-80s. Yeah, THAT was a scary neighborhood. I lived in Mexico City for several years in the early nineties. That was also pretty frightening.

    I can understand worrying about your kids–sure–but don’t blow things out of proportion.

  • Diane

    Um, yeah, it is a big deal. Except to the oblivious who may happen to like a little gunplay as background soundtrack to their lives.


  • Diane

    OK – I lived in New York City for a few years in the 80’s, before it was all cleaned up. I still think being blase about gunfire, while hip and all, is bad for the community and our neighbors. Sorry, but I don’t want it around me.

  • cwm

    Diane, I’m not posturing: you really are way more likely to get run over than shot. In fact, unless you’re involved in the criminal economy, i’d guess that you’re probably 100 times more likely to get maimed, crippled, or killed by a car than a gun. I think you’ll see what I’m talking about if you read some of the statistic here:

  • To reconcile cwm and Diane, in my view:

    Your odds today of damage by car are way, way worse than your of damage by, say, getting shot. Simple fact, likely.

    On the other hand, your odds in a year of getting shot are deeply connected to such things as how, today, we respond to shots fired. That’s the best guess, anyway.

    Everybody wins.

  • Jane Superstar

    I agree that non-criminal bystanders are unlikely to get shot in South Berkeley. Still, what is wrong with hoping for a neighborhood in which no one gets shot? It doesn’t matter where you grew up/have lived or if you own a house (or not), can’t you still want a neighborhood where no one gets shot. Even if a person is involved in the criminal economy (and I am not saying all the victims are), don’t they deserve the right to walk down the street without getting shot?

    Call me naive, but if Berkeley is really one of the most beautiful, progressive, and wealthy places on earth, then it should be a place where no shots ring out.

  • laura menard

    According to CA crime stats and the new chief of police Berkeley has the highest rate of robberies, traffic accidents, bike accidents, and assaults for a city of 100,000. Berkeley is a dangerous city, the facts back up the assertion.

    Jane Superstar, hmmm, do you have any idea how many homes have been hit by stray gunfire? I know of many incidents, with folks home, near misses.

    When TL attempts a distinction about “shots fired” or a “shooting” when a victim is known, he ignores what is not known until folks get home and find a bullet hole in their window, wall or car. Which by the way, is hardly uncommon.


  • cwm

    Well, I apologize if I polarized the discussion. I genuinely don’t mean to make light of anyone’s concern for themselves or their families.

    But, when we think about safety, it’s important to identify the real culprits and not get carried away by anti-gun hysteria. Really, cars are more dangerous to us than guns.

    And anxieties about crime often become political footballs that produce terrible results. I grew up in New York, where Giuliani’s “law and order,” “quality of life” campaigns became an excuse for chasing the poor and brown skinned out of Manhattan and throwing endless numbers of black youth in prison. It was/is terrible.

    While I am not suggesting that people worried about crime have some malevolent intent, we need to put things in perspective.

  • Mike Farrell

    Well here’s a perspective;
    Do neighborhoods with regular shootings and murderous family feuds get better or worse?

  • cgh

    i happen to work near where the shots were fired today, and my van got a nice bullet through the license plate. could have just as likely been me getting a tool out of there at the time…

  • Pingback: Update on Sacramento shooting | Berkeleyside()

  • grad student


    You have 6 friends killed in Berkeley and you call Berkeley safe? I lived in NYC, in Brooklyn for 4 years and haven’t met a single person who knew someone who was shot dead in Brooklyn or in NYC. Hell, if you have 6 friends killed in Berkeley that makes Berkeley one of the scariest places I have ever lived in. There is something wrong with your perception of reality. 6 friends killed, wow.

  • grad student


    Also it doesn’t matter whether getting hit by a car is more likely than being shot. These are two different problems and there are many discussions and public programs aimed at making the roads safer. They don’t work properly perhaps but that is a different matter.

    With all due respect, that kind of thinking,- only solve the most urgent problems,- is as not progressive as thinking can be.

  • I wonder if they will autopsy it to see what it had recently eaten.

  • laura menard

    thanks for the reality check grad student

    Folks unfamiliar with living down here irked me with their absurd rationalization, including amateur reporters.

    Do you folks realize that Longfellow kids are back in school as of today and that Sacramento St is the route to the bus stop. How many people were shopping at the Tuesday farmer’s market one short block away at Spiral Gardens, when some idiots open fired with multiple rounds just misses the drivers head.

    While TL discusses some contrived nonsense, other urge perspective. The one perspective that never changes is when we residents fight for EQUITY of public safety our Berkeley Betters lecture us. Gee, do you think the lack of environmental equity is one of the primary reasons for the achievement gap?
    Research says so.

    Superstar, these are has been the site of gang and street shootings since the 70s, what the hell are you wanting to investigate.

    And yes Mike, we have proven there are remedies to reduce street violence, I could write a book about the process, but would not engage in listing out the actions on this blog for obvious reasons.

  • Oops. That’s odd. The “autopsy” comment was about the Mountain Lion. Just posted in the wrong place.

  • cwm

    Grad student,

    I really do think matters if you’re more likely to get killed by a gun shot or a snake bite or a meteor or whatever. Those probabilities have implications for public policy and where we spend our tax dollars.

    Yeah, I have had six friends killed, but none in Berkeley.

  • laura menard


    I can not think of a more important and neglected public health issue than the homicides rates affecting young black males and causing increased brutality and aggression throughout American culture.

    In just one year more Americans were killed in streets of Philadelphia than in fighting the Iraq war.

  • cwm

    Commentators that I follow anticipate a worsening economy and an expanding gap between the rich and the poor. In South Berkeley, this will probably result in increased crime, as people get pushed into the criminal economy and over the brink generally.

    The future does not look good from my vantage point. So, how will we deal with this? Increased policing? That just means cops touring the neighborhood like an invading army and tossing our kids into privatized, money-making warehouses known as prisons. That’s no solution in my view.

    Is there another solution? I sure hope so. Everything hinges on how we identify our problems.

  • cwm: i think there is another solution if we can figure out how to take over the light industrial district vacancies and start doing “export replacement” with creative new local industries and a lot of job creation in the process.

  • grad student


    You are right it does make a difference on public policy but that isn’t the point we are arguing. Whether problem X should get more money than problem Y is a matter decided by voting and it isn’t what we are discussing here. You point, which was clearly expressed by the tone of your comment, is that if Problem X is more urgent one than problem Y than Problem Y shouldn’t be considered at all not that it should get less money or attention. This is the attitude that caused the responses you have been getting.

    What is happening in this blog is neither blowing it out of proportions nor it is making the problem of shootings more urgent one than problem of being hit by a car. In short, your point of being hit by a car being more likely than being shot is totally irrelevant one as far as the topic of the discussion. We are not discussing how much money or attention should this particular problem receive. We are discussing whether it should receive any attention at all, i.e., whether there is enough evidence to be concerned with this or not.

    People have been rightly worried by the frequencies of the shootings and they would like to know what is happening.

    Also, if none of your friends were killed in Berkeley than bringing it up is also somewhat not relevant to the topic. I have many friends who died because of high school shootings, army violence, street violence, wars and etc but I don’t feel that this is in any way relevant to the fact that there have been frequent shootings in Berkeley, or whether Berkeley is safe or not. Safety isn’t a relative notion. People either feel safe or they don’t and quite often that depends on the people. For instance, Brooklyn compare to Berkeley statistically is definitely less safe but that doesn’t mean anything unless people themselves feel more safer in Berkeley than in Brooklyn. I for one felt pretty safe in Brooklyn but less safe in Berkeley mainly because in Brooklyn I was ready for everything and my readiness was making me feel more safe. Here I am not expecting to be shot at on one of the main streets.

    Also, and this will be my last point, it doesn’t make sense to say that Berkeley is safe because it is much more likely that you will be killed in Iraq or in Mexico City or etc than in Berkeley (just because you lost friends in some other place and none here, it doesn’t mean that Berkeley is safe). In short, whether a place is safe or not depends solely on whether the people living in that place feel safe or not. Statistics is for tourists, it is not for locals: locals can be pretty terrified or extremely courageous people and you cannot do anything about that.

  • grad student

    Thomas Lord,

    I agree! One the positive note, I think mid University Avenue is developing quickly. There seem to be many new business that have opened up and plus bringing Trader Joyce to this part of the city is an excellent idea. I hope this development will continue all the way down to San Pablo. Few years back there were saying that they would build whole foods in Albany on San Pablo. I wounder if it is already there.