Police pursuit puts Malcolm X, LeConte on lockdown

Photo: Sandy Friedland

Update, 4:30 p.m.: The Berkeley Police Department now reports it was a neighbor, not the victim of a burglary, who chased suspects and asked people to call 911. Officers recovered some of the victim’s property. The suspects are described as: African American male juvenile, 16 years old, 5’7”-5’8”, 140 pounds wearing a gray shirt and baggy blue jeans; and African American male juvenile, 16 years old, 5’7”-5’8”, 140 pounds wearing a black and white short-sleeved striped shirt and baggy blue jeans.

Update, 2:50 p.m.: According to police, the two burglary suspects have not been apprehended. Police are still investigating but the search perimeters have been lifted.

Update, 2:18 p.m.: LeConte Elementary School went off lockdown at around 2 p.m.

Update, 2 p.m.: Berkeley Police officers are hunting two suspects following an interrupted residential burglary in the 2100 block of Ward Street, according to police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. It is believed two young male suspects fled the house and were chased by the victim, she said. Police established a perimeter north to south on Ashby and Russell and east to west between Deakin and Fulton. They are going house to house looking for suspects.


Update, 1:55 pm: Malcolm X school has been taken off lockdown. Parent Katy Hayden said she received a call that the lockdown is lifted at the elementary school, and parents can pick up kids as usual.

Update, 1:45 pm: LeConte Elementary School, which is at 2241 Russell St., is also on lockdown, according to Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Mark Coplan, who said two suspects ran straight through the school playground.

At 1:45 p.m., Coplan said parents should not go to the schools to try to pick up their children. He estimates it will be at least an hour before the situation is resolved.

Original story, 1:20 p.m.: The pursuit by Berkeley Police officers of a possible crime suspect put Malcolm X Elementary School and the Berkeley Pine Care Center on lockdown at around 1 p.m. today.

Nathalie Montijo, director of nursing at Berkeley Pines Care Center at 2223 Ashby Ave., on the corner of Deakin, said that about an hour ago a staff member said something was going on outside. She went outside and a police officer told her the facility needed to lock down.

Four or five members of a SWAT team came through the facility with weapons drawn, according to Montijo. She said the police told her they were looking for two young black males. “It looked pretty serious. It was pretty intense,” she said.

According to Sandy Friedland, who spoke to a police officer, a suspect was in a house on Fulton.

“They are not allowing pedestrians to walk on the north side of Ashby or onto Fulton,” she said.

Photo: Emilie Raguso

At 1:35 p.m., the north side of Ashby and Deakin Street between Ashby and Russell was blocked to pedestrians.

The Malcolm X parent community received a robo-call Wednesday at 1:16 p.m. alerting them to the fact that the school was on lockdown but that the students were safe.

Nicole Fitzhugh, a parent at Malcolm X, was at the school at about 1:45 p.m. to pick up her child according to her normal schedule. “I trust the staff to do their job. They are familiar with the procedures and they are trying to do their best to keep our kids safe,” she said.

Additional reporting by Emilie Raguso.

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