Man in police shootout charged with Berkeley murder

Calvester Stewart has been charged with the murder of Devin Whitmire on March 29 near Bob’s Liquors on Sacramento. Photo: A citizen reporter

Update, 4:40 p.m.: Calvester Houston Stewart, 19, has been charged with the attempted murder of five police officers, the Berkeley Police Department said in a statement released at 4:28 p.m. today. Stewart has also been charged with the March 29 murder of Devin Lee Whitmire, 24 (see below). He was wounded by Berkeley police during a shootout on Delaware Street on April 13 when he shot at officers.

Original story: Calvester Stewart, 19, who was wounded by Berkeley police during a shootout on Delaware Street on April 13, has been charged with the murder of Devin Whitmire, 24, which took place near Bob’s Liquors store on Sacramento Street on March 29.

Stewart, of Berkeley, is the second suspect to be charged with the murder of Whitmire, who was also of Berkeley. Prosecutors previously charged 18-year-old Randall Oscar Alston with murder and he pleaded not guilty at a hearing on April 9.

Stewart was arrested on April 13 after opening fire on several officers outside an apartment building on the 900 block of Delaware Street at around 10:40pm. After several officers fired back but missed, Stewart ran around the building and confronted Officer Samantha Speelman, who shot and wounded him in the arm and leg according to the Chronicle. Stewart appeared in court Monday in a wheelchair.

Alston, 18, also of Berkeley, was arrested shortly after the March 29 slaying which came as two men left Bob’s Liquors and were confronted by a crowd of men on the corner, one of whom had a gun and started shooting. The two men fled. Whitmire was hit and fell down on Oregon Street. Paramedics transported him to a local trauma center where he was pronounced dead. Police arrested Alston about an hour later.

It emerged later that Whitmire’s brother was with the victim on the night of the killing and he fought with Alston after the slaying and immediately preceding Alston’s arrest.

Alston and Stewart are scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on May 21 for a preliminary hearing. Stewart’s lawyer is reported to have said yesterday that she might not be prepared by that time and she also will seek to have Stewart prosecuted separately from Alston.

Stewart, who has previous arrests for weapons violations, and Alston are being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Whitmire’s murder was the third homicide of the year in Berkeley. On the evening of Jan. 26, Kenneth Warren, 35, of Hercules was gunned down in a barrage of bullets on Emerson Street at Shattuck after leaving his job at Don’s Headquarters barbershop. And, on Feb. 18, Peter Cukor, 67, was bludgeoned to death outside his home on Park Gate in the Berkeley hills.

Related:
Berkeley police identify suspect who was shot [04.23.12]
Berkeley police exchange gunfire with fleeing suspect [04.14.12]
Berkeley victim’s brother fought suspect after killing [04.04.12]
Reward offered to help find suspects in Berkeley homicide [04.03.12]
Police identify victim and suspect in Thursday slaying [04.01.12]
Southside residents contend with spate of shootings [03.30.12]
Sacramento Street shooting victim dies, arrest made [03.30.12]
Shooting on Sacramento and Oregon, victim wounded [03.29.12]

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  • MFox327

    Will Stewart also be charged with attempted murder of a police officer? That would probably carry a hefty sentence…

  • Heather_W_62

    He didn’t hit any of the officers, so I’m guessing that unless it can be identified which specific officer(s) was targeting, they can’t charge him with that? But I’m certain there are charges specific to shooting at officers, plus there’s all kinds of lesser charges he will be hit with including discharging a firearm, possession of an illegal firearm, etcetera. I”m curious what BSide resident attorney’s may say.

  • John Holland

    Glad to hear this report, especially after people ridiculed me for asking if the shooter was someone other than Mr. Alston.

    Hyperlinks aren’t working in the new Disqus, BTW: http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/04/04/berkeley-victims-brother-fought-suspect-after-the-killing/#comment-486460357

    Actually, Hyperlinks ARE working, they just aren’t colored differently than the regular text! People can’t even see them!

  • bgal4

    Samantha Speelman is a tough and capable cop, she has taken on some nasty psycho-killers in south Berkeley before.

    I wonder how this 19 year old happened to be driving a red Jaguar.

    Just some misunderstood youth I suppose.

  • Heather_W_62

    Yes and if we offer him the special services we seem to have so many of in Berkeley, he is redeemable.

  • Heather_W_62

    John Holland, this doesn’t mean that Alston was simply along for the ride, he may have been involved. Or not. Certainly, he was aware of the company he kept anyway, and that is something people do have control over.

  • John Holland

    Good point.

  • John Holland

    Also, the article still does not seem to be clear on who discharged the gun.

  • Anonymous

    Oh man, 5 charges of attempted murder for shooting at the cops in addition to the other murder charge. I sure hope keeping it real was worth it Calvestor.

  • Heather_W_62

    Well you were right MFox327 — 5 counts of attempted murder.

  • Heather_W_62

    Curious — was Calvester Stewart a Berkeley High Student in the last couple years or so? If so, how many here think he was packing a gun at school?

  • free

    kl

  • free

    everyone didnt grow up rich and white like you so ofcourse yu dont understand..

  • free

    just becuase you didnt have a jaguar or even a car as a teanager dosent mean you have to question somones wealth work hard and maybe when you decide to grow up mommy will buy you a new car :)

  • bgal4

     f…off