No suspect in Berkeley High student shooting case

The scene of the Feb. 23 shooting of a BHS senior at the intersection of Market and Lowell near the Oakland-Berkeley border. Photo: Linda Seccaspina

Oakland Police Department say they have no suspect for Thursday morning’s shooting of a Berkeley High senior as he was riding his bike at the intersection of Lowell and Market streets in North Oakland.

The 18-year-old victim, who is not being identified by OPD nor by BUSD, sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound from a gunman who was also riding a bicycle. The call to OPD was made at 8:03 a.m. The victim, an Oakland resident according to OPD, is recovering at Highland Hospital after surgery yesterday.

OPD cannot confirm whether the victim was also carrying, or may have shot, a gun, as has been reported in other media. “The investigative team is not releasing any information while it conducts its research,” said an OPD spokesperson.

BUSD spokesperson Mark Coplan said Berkeley High students have reacted to the news of the shooting with shock, and counseling services are being provided for those who need it. Principal Pasquale Scuderi has asked that a plan be established to re-integrate the student back into school, possibly starting with home/hospital schooling.

The 18-year-old was the second Berkeley High student to be shot in little over a year. In November 2010, 14-year-old Larry Malik Grayson died after he was shot in the head by his 17-year-old friend while in an apartment on Alcatraz Avenue.

Berkeley High student shot in Oakland [02.23.12]
Berkeley High freshman dies after shooting [11.05.10] 

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  • Anonymous

    ‘OPD cannot confirm whether the victim was also carrying, or may have
    shot, a gun, as has been reported in other media. “The investigative
    team is not releasing any information while it conducts its research,”
    said an OPD spokesperson.’  Two sentences later, “Principal Pasquale Scuderi has asked that a plan be established to
    re-integrate the student back into school, possibly starting with
    home/hospital schooling.”  So Principle Scuderi has some non-public information about this?  Surely he’s not asking for teachers and administrators to go to extraordinary lengths to accommodate a student who failed to bring a gun to school that day only because he happened to get shot on the way there.

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

     The victim, an Oakland resident according to OPD, is recovering at Highland Hospital after surgery yesterday.

  • Heather W.

    “OPD cannot confirm whether the victim was also carrying, or may have shot, a gun, as has been reported in other media. “The investigative team is not releasing any information while it conducts its research,” said an OPD spokesperson.”

    Let’s just say that OPD WILL not confirm whether the victim was also carrying. Seems to me if he wasn’t, it would be pretty easy figure out and OPD would have confirmed that. 

  • bhsstudent2012

    It’s not clear what you mean by the word “accommodate,” but you seem to be saying that the student no longer has the right to an education because he was shot and may have been carrying a gun at the time. It is the responsibility of teachers and administrators to go to extraordinary lengths to help the most at-risk kids – as a community, we should expect nothing less. 

  • Anonymous

    If you’re bringing a gun to school you are, by definition, no longer “at-risk”.  You are a risk and have no right to be on campus (regardless of whether you are a Berkeley resident, legal transfer, or fraudulent transfer).

    Just to put my anger and disgust in some contex, I was at a BUSD meeting last night where a group of about 50 eager, energetic parents were essentially told “It’s great your kids are over-achieving but screw you, we can’t do anything extra for your kids even though you are offering time and money to support it.”  But we apparently can arrange one-off “hospital schooling” for allegedly violent sociopaths.

  • bhsstudent2012

    First of all, the speculation that he may have been armed is much less relevant than you are making it out to be. This boy was shot, and is not at fault in this scenario- you seem determined to blame the victim. I am confused as to how you made the leap from “cannot confirm whether he was armed” to “allegedly-violent sociopaths.” As for your BUSD meeting, any just community prioritizes money and energy to students whose backgrounds make it harder for them to succeed in school. 

  • JW

    Was he on his way to Berkeley High carrying or not?  If yes, was he going to stash the weapon somewhere or was he going to bring it onto school grounds? Had he arrived at school carrying a weapon, he was putting himself and others at risk, and if he were found carrying a gun on school grounds, that would have been reason for expulsion.  That’s why it’s relevant.

  • Naomijcaldwell

    Why is an Oakland resident a Berkeley high student?

  • There’s nothing unjust about making GATE a priority.  It’s absolutely unjust for Oakland residents to lie their way into BUSD and thereby steal funds that Berkeley voters set aside for Berkeley’s public school students. 

  • I would say that bringing a gun to school makes you a threat.

  • Cammy

    I get the feeling that Berkeley takes students from Oakland. This would never be possible in Albany.

  • Cammy

    I think an Oakland resident can request a transfer to go to Berkeley schools, if there are openings. I think that happens much more often than Berkeley residents going to Oakland Schools, (if it happens at all)

  • Anonymous

    It’s sad to see that the tired old identity politics that has given us two generations self-entitled, poorly educated young black kids completely unprepared to make meaningful contributions to society is still alive and well at BHS (I’m assuming you’re a student based on your screen name). Save your race card for another day, I’m black .

  • Guest

    Breaking news (although it actually goes back to yesterday)?

    Head of security at Berkeley High School arrested
    By Doug OakleyBerkeley
    Posted:   02/24/2012 07:34:23 PM PST
    February 25, 2012 3:34 AM GMT Updated:   02/24/2012 07:34:23 PM PST

    The head of security at Berkeley High School was arrested Thursday on suspicion of identity theft following a police department investigation, school officials said Friday.Billy Keys, who graduated from Berkeley High and who has worked as a security officer there for at least 10 years, was placed on administrative leave while the school district conducts its own investigation, said Berkeley High Principal Pasquale Scuderi.In a note to parents, Scuderi called the arrest “a very difficult development.” He sent the note, he said to “head off speculation and get out in front of any rumors.”Berkeley school district spokesman Mark Coplan said Keys wrote Berkeley High’s safety and security manual.”It’s just not in his character,” Coplan said. “Billy graduated from Berkeley High and to my knowledge he has never left.”Scuderi said the district will cooperate with the police department “to help ensure that a thorough and fair process is conducted in response to this matter. BHS will continue to hold the highest expectations for all its staff and students and place no one above consequences if and when their actions jeopardize the integrity of security and our school.”Berkeley police did not respond to a request for more information on the case.

  • That’s not lying, that’s an above-board interdistrict transfer.  

    For all grades of BUSD this year, there were 645 legal transfers in.  The majority of those are children of BUSD employees.  The District approved 77 new transfers in this year.  226 students transferred out of BUSD to other districts.  

    Berkeley also enrolled 759 (!!) students with homeless status.  Some of those kids live outside the district but have some connection to it and can claim it as a “school of origin” under McKinney-Venot.  

    Caregiver affidavits represent an additional category, but those students MUST live full-time with the Berkeley resident caregiver, so they’re not really out of district.  If, someone with such an affidavit is not living with the caregiver, the affidavit is invalid and the enrollment is too.  But BUSD doesn’t do the necessary follow-up on that.

    The problem is that ON TOP of those categories, there are a large number of students in BUSD who use fake addresses or fraudulent residency claims.  These happen, by the way, across the economic spectrum — affluent families from the Oakland Hills do it with some frequency — as much or more than flatland families trying to escape the violent clutches of Oakland’s thug culture. 

  • It used to happen more in Albany, but they cracked down big time in the last couple of years.  That’s why their enrollment doesn’t have the statistical anomalies of BUSD.

    Berkeley takes some students that it legally MUST take, under McKinney-Vento and caregiver affidavits.  It also has a sizable legal transfer population.  

    But it doesn’t do meaningful verification (as state law allows) to verify that caregiver affidavits are being used for real caregiver situations.  It also doesn’t appear to do any follow-up to determine whether McKinney-Vento students have become redomiciled in other cities (which would end their access to BUSD).  And it definitely doesn’t do anything like what Albany does at enrollment time, to verify that people claiming actual residency are, in fact, actual residents.  

    Lots of folks abuse that bit of intentional administrative blindness.  Maybe one of these days Berkeleyside will finally get around to writing about it — the editors certainly know that it happens.

  • The guy in charge of safety and security at BHS was arrested.  Unbelievable.  

    Does he have a competent deputy who can assume his — essential — responsibilities?  Scuderi’s note made no mention of that.  

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

     WOW…it just doesn’t end!

  • bhsstudent2012

    Someone is shot and your response is to accuse the victim of gun possession. None of the questions you ask have any basis in reality, and nobody can possibly know the answer. His hypothetical expulsion has nothing to do with anything. Contrary to media portrayals, BHS is not riddled with bullets every other week. There is nothing whatever to suggest the victim was armed, apart from an ambiguous OPD statement.

  • bhsstudent2012

    Nobody is saying that guns aren’t dangerous. That’s not the point.

  • Anonymous

    ….and the initial report that the police responded to stating that the victim was also shooting. Of course, that might have been incorrect which would make this a random shooting occurring at the very un-gangsta’ hour of 8am.

    The next few days will be a real leadership challenge for BHS and district administrators with this shooting and the head of security (some might say head of obstruction of justice) being arrested on ID theft charges. I truly hope they meet it with something other than the tacit approval of lawlessness and thuggery like has happened so many times before.

  • bhsstudent2012

    If you could point to any instance of “tacit approval of lawlessness and thuggery,” your argument would be slightly more valid – though I’m still not sure what you would have accomplished, other than badmouthing Berkeley High.

    Mocking a gunshot victim (who, by the way, was in the BUSD before high school), is inexcusable.

  • free2think

     right on!

  • free2think

     what about the concept of CONSTRUCTIVE criticism that leads to REAL improvements.

    I have always found it ironic that a school that bashes any form of nationalism has students mesmerized and bending at its altar…..

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t mock anyone, let’s make a little effort if we’re going to have an adult discussion. You’ll find plenty cases of obstruction if you talk to former and current parents. You can fine a decent archive of anecdotes in the Berkeley Parents’ Network archive but probably the best documented case I know of is that of Laura Menard. Hell, the chief of BPD basically said the same thing in more polite way after the gun incidents last year; go read the minutes from meetings if you’re really interested and not just trolling.

    Oh, and the fact that student was in BUSD prior to high school just means his parents or guardian have been engaged in fraud for longer than four years.

  • bhsstudent2012

    I do not feel the need to refute your last comment because it speaks for itself. I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere, and I feel this has become unproductive. I am extremely disappointed with the maturity and “effort” of the anonymous adults on this page. Your idea of an “adult discussion” is not something any sincere person would want to take part in.

  • Meanwhile, on the other shooting-related article, an “outraged student” just replied to me saying that “All the students at Berkeley High know that there are guns on campus daily. But we don’t care. Because we know that we’re not threatened. ”

    If there’s even a whiff of truth to that, it’s time to revisit the school safety protocols in a big way.  It’s also past time for the community to note how wrong it is for even one kid to harbor these thoughts at and about school.  

    And it definitely raises questions about the effectiveness of what Keys was doing to ensure safety.

  • Actually one of your schoolmates just posted this on the other thread: “All the students at Berkeley High know that there are guns on campus daily. But we don’t care. Because we know that we’re not threatened. ”

    Even though we may disagree about some other topics, I hope you can see how wrong it is for schoolkids to become complacent about the presence of guns at school.  This is not “normal.”

  • I keep reading these posts from BHS students in which they claim that others are “mocking,” “attacking,” etc.  And yet there’s not a lot of evidence of that.  I suppose there must be some instances, but not the majority and certainly not in this case.  

    Mostly what I see are adults asking hard questions:  about the case and about policy failures and their implications.  

  • That’s a shame, as I think you were just given a bunch of information — actual incidents and statements from knowledgeable public officials — in direct reply to your question.  If you were, in fact, sincere you’d  reflect on that information and see where it leads you.

    As John Maynard Keynes famously said, “When I get new information, I change my position. What, sir, do you do with new information?”

    And, incidentally, “badmouthing Berkeley High” is by no means the objective.  Adults in the community want to see it improved, made safer, and fiscally responsible, with resources being directed appropriately.  Highlighting flaws in the status quo is part of how one builds the case for change, especially in the face of institutional resistance.

  • Completely Serious

    “The 18-year old victim, who is not being identified by OPD nor by BUSD”

    18 = adult.  Why isn’t he being identified?  Who is BUSD and OPD really protecting?

  • Bruce Love

    Perhaps they are protecting the one witness who got a good look at the shooter.

  • Bill

    While I agree with your first paragraph I think that the anger in your second paragraph is misplaced.  The comment that the parents could not provide money to support their “over achieving” kids misses the mark.  They could direct their money and time to the the BHSDG for the small school the kids are in but what they really need to do is support the teachers.  Both of my kids went to BHS, and may or may not be considered overachievers, but neither needed anything extra from the district – just good supportive teachers.  The main point is that the school needs to support and nurture all of its students both the “over achievers,” the regular achievers and the under achievers.  However, funds are limited and need to be spread equitably.  

  • Anonymous

    This was concerning elementary and middle school, not high school. I absolutely agree that funds need to be spread equitably; currently funding is disproportionately focused on low achieving students, those with discipline problems, and illegal out of district transfers in my opinion. I’m all for devoting resources to kids coming from difficult situations but when you have large numbers of kids at the other end of the spectrum who aren’t being served you are going to end up with something like Oakland or Richmond’s district when their parents finally give up on BUSD and move to private schools.

  • Laurenlupo

    I am really disturbed to read some of the parents’ comments here.  (I am a BHS parent).  My god, a kid is in the hospital with a bullet wound which could have killed him.  He is somebody’s son, grandson, brother, nephew……and some BHS parents are going on and on about how their children aren’t being served because BHS spends proportionately more on lower achieving students.  First, I find that such comments reflect a level of entitlement I cannot stand among many better-off parents.  More importantly, under an article such as this one, they reflect a cold and heartless person or people who should be ashamed of themselves.  Second, the principal has done an excellent job keeping BHS safe and our children secure since he came on board.   THird, the fact that the head of security may have been involved in identity theft is truly unfortunate but to link these two incidents or use it to prove how lax BHS is with regard to security is simply fallacious.  How many police and politicians are found to engage in graft?  And what about all the white collar theft that has proven disastrous…e.g., the banks, mortgages?    These things happen and to make anything more of it is ridiculous.   THere is no causality here, one way or another.  
    I encourage all parents to volunteer at BHS, to donate funds if they can, and to knock off this classist and racist commentary.

  • Bill

    It also takes kids from Kensington

  • Connie Tyler

    Having read through many of the comments about this incident I have some thoughts of my own not having to do with speculation about whether or not this young man had a gun or didn’t, etc. 
    Some of the comments have to do with people wanting to keep their own child safe, as we all do.  It is kind of an illusion to try to make our own kids safe when there are any children any where who are not safe.  We need to drop the “us and them” attitude and start working for the safety of all children every where.  If you think that the children of Berkeley aren’t safe because children in Oakland aren’t safe, the answer is not to exclude the children of Oakland, but to work to make them safe as well — and, as an aside, you do not make anyone safe by throwing a whole bunch of people in jail.  This also applies in the larger context.  You don’t make the people of the US safe by bombing the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, and now maybe Iran, but but by making the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere safe — peaceful programs to better people’s lives is what brings peace and safety. 
    Back to Berkeley High — my daughter graduated from Berkeley High and went to NYU.  She was in a dorm five minutes away from the twin towers on 9/11.  Safety is an illusion when there are any children any where who are not safe.

  • Very true.  And several other cities too.  Also: different races and economic groups.  

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan


  • Connie, I doubt any one would disagree with you in principle.  As a practical matter, however, we do have the capacity to act within governance frameworks that are localized.  So: BUSD and OUSD are separate entities with separate accountability.  Further, we don’t categorically “exclude the children of Oakland” from BUSD:  we actually provide services to hundreds of them.  But the ones whose parents lie or cheat the system do so at the expense of other children and families who make real sacrifices to be here.  That includes well-to-do families lying and cheating at the expense of Berkeley’s own less-well-off families.  So it’s a little simplistic — and demonstrably wrong — to think that ignoring enrollment fraud only helps imperiled minorities when it actually creates fresh injustices all on its own.

    So I appreciate your call for universal humanism but I don’t think that the policies and practices of BUSD are an especially good way to achieve your objective.  In some respects they are having the OPPOSITE effect.

  • Heather W.

    I did volunteer at BHS, under the “management” of Blly Keyes. What my friend and I were assigned the first day:  the most notably dangerous buildings at BHS and given a set of broken walkie talkies. He knew what he was doing, shoulda seen the smile of contempt on his face as we walked away.  

    What do you want to be he was selling fake I.D.s, using those stolen identities, to students. 

    Not that this has anything to do with the young man who was shot, but still….. 

  • Heather W.

    Unfortunate as it is that this man was shot — and he is a man, not a boy — BUSD, as far as I know doesn’t have a legal responsibility to extend special educational services. He is 18 years old.  

  • George N.

    I’m actually disturbed by your comment, truth be told. It completely ignores reality, even though I’m sure you think you’re the one educating all the “cold and heartless” readers of Berkeleyside. Your comment is the one that smells of entitlement and condescension. 

    I hope the young man who was shot heals physically and can join his family and friends at home soon, as I’m sure many here do. But this thread, as in the previous article about this shooting, has become a forum for Berkeley residents, students included, to discuss school policies that affect us all. 

    Berkeley homeowners make great sacrifices to pay a significant portion of their salaries on property taxes to fund this district’s schools, and we would like to have a say in how that money is spent. I would prefer to have it spent on the students whose families play by the rules and attend Berkeley schools legally. That does not make me “classist” and certainly not “racist.” 

    For students to ignore this part of the argument is understandable. I would have done the same as a teenager. Students haven’t been hit with giant tax bills while trying to maintain a job, and feed and shelter a family yet. Once they do, opinions change. Unless they choose to remain in a fantasyland where everything magically pays for itself, and anyone who objects must be cold and heartless.  

  • Disappointed BHS Student

    no, what you see is adults taking advantage of serious tragedies to create public forums about unrelated PTA issues.

    Students are not angry at you just because you are advocating stricter policies concerning out of district kids (although most of us do feel strongly about that issue as well, and most of us find that overprotective Berkeley parents are so concerned with their own children’s education that they are willing to ignore the needs and well being of more disadvantaged students, many of whom don’t have parents who are advocating for their needs on the PTA).

    But no, it is not this argument that has riled up so many responses from BHS students. We are angry that all of the posts coming from adults that day, and many of the days following, were completely unconcerned with the student’s actual health, or with the actual facts of the event. I can guarantee that practically the entire BHS community was disgusted at the way parents took this incident and made assumption after assumption about the background until they turned this into just another PTA forum. This incident was not, in fact, an issue about Oakland kids going to school at BHS (the kid isn’t even from Oakland!). And the comments that followed from many parents might as well have been the “attacks” you mentioned, in the way that they seemed to blame all gun violence on these Oakland kids, while simultaneously assuming that this student fit into that very same category. Most comments by parents who are “just concerned” about the safety of Berkeley schools have been unsympathetic to the student, and are just using this incident (along with the assumption that Oakland is the root of all of our problems) to argue for a change in school policy that really concerns school funding more than it does safety.

  • Fact check: OPD says he IS from Oakland.  Now we don’t know if he has a legal interdistrict permit or McKinney-Vento status, but his residence was given as Oakland, in direct contradiction of many assertions by BHS students.

    No time for a lengthier reply today, but briefly:  the issues you’ve identified are definitely and demonstrably linked.  Check the “Getting Down To Facts” meta-study of problems in CA schools if you don’t believe me. 

    Lastly, you seem to be knocking down straw men as fast as you can erect them.  If you read what I’ve written, for example, you will nowhere find a claim that every problem comes from Oakland.  We have enrollment fraud from the whole region, across racial and economic groups.  We also have real problems right here in Berkeley and I’m interested in directing our community’s resources at those problems.  If you or your friends live in other cities, ask your parents why they don’t mount an equal fight to defend their own communities. 

  • The Sharkey

    No offense, but there’s some definite irony in seeing  you attack other people for their “lack of maturity” after the way you’ve been carrying on and acting like simple questions are vicious personal attacks.

  • bgal4

    I  can provide documentation of not just tacit but active approval of lawlessness. Cases such as interference by lead security officer Billy Keys into the investigation of campus crime resulted in protecting his friends and obstructing justice for Berkeley residents.   The district was silent when parents pressed for review of these cases.

  • Lilc600


  • Fagboy

    hello you people are idiots