Female bicyclist shot and killed on Derby Street

A woman bicyclist was shot Tuesday night in the 1500 block of Derby near Longfellow Middle School.

This story was updated at 10:42 a.m. See the updated post here. The original story appears below.

A woman was shot and killed Tuesday night while riding her bike in the 1500 block of Derby Street, according to Berkeley police.

Police received a 911 call at 11:36 p.m. that a bicyclist was on the ground near Longfellow Middle School, possibly because of a traffic accident, said Officer Jennifer Coats. When police arrived, they found a woman in her late 40s or early 50s on the ground. She had been shot and was unresponsive, said Coats. Berkeley Fire Department paramedics arrived and pronounced her dead at the scene.

Police are not releasing the victim’s name at this time.

BPD is urging anyone with information regarding this incident to please call its Homicide Unit at 510-981-5741 or its non-emergency number at 510-981-5900. Callers may remain anonymous. Anyone with anonymous information may also call Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

It is the fourth homicide in Berkeley this year. On Jan. 26, Kenneth Warren was shot dead near his workplace on the corner of Shattuck and Emerson, and on Feb. 18 Peter Cukor was bludgeoned to death outside his home on Park Gate in the Berkeley hills. On March 29, 24-year old Devin Lee Whitmire was shot on the 2800 block of Sacramento Street, right outside Bob’s Liquors.

In 2011, there was only one homicide in Berkeley.

Berkeleyside will provide updates as we get them.

For the updated story, click here.

Sacramento Street neighbors reel from latest shooting [12.06.12]
Sacramento Street shooting victim dies, arrest made [03.30.12]
Dec. 23 shooting involved five men with guns [03.07.12]

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  • berkeleykev

    So… you mean closing down the pot club didn’t stop all the crime in that area?

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    your an ass!

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    I’m sitting here debating taking my child out of longfellow and you make a comment like that.

  • Joe

    When will the state of California and the City of Berkeley take crime seriously or are the lives of victims not worth anything?

  • Anonymous

    Don’t take your child out of Longfellow! I agree with you that bekeleykev’s comment was super insensitive. The school itself during the school day and extended say program is a safe place for students, to some degree more so than other schools thanks to the school’s incredible Counseling and Positive School Culture Department. That said, an incident such as this in the neighborhood is scary, and I can understand your worry.

  • bingo

    this underscores every uncomfortable feeling I’ve ever had biking through that area at night (thankfully usually downhill with some velocity)

  • John Holland

    If the club is closed, why would you need to take your child out of Longfellow? isn’t that crisis averted?

  • CTD

    Obviously the right solution to lowlifes hanging around the pot club was to remove the pot club. This was probably just a criminal pot leaf getting off a parting shot.

  • Guest

    For all we know this was one of their bike delivery folks — they’re still delivering.

  • kamarie

    Today I read an article written by a hospice nurse. It was called “the top 5 regrets of the dying.” One of them was “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.” I usually don’t express my feelings on Berkeleyside, because some of you are cruel and small-minded and not worth the hassle of doing so. But today I’ll make the effort in honor of that article (which was worth reading, by the way). So to all of you armchair warriors dusting off your oh-so-important wit: your flippancy is not welcome. Some of us have to deal with this on a more personal level. Have a little consideration for what we’re going through to have heard the gunshots, to hear the sirens and see the flashing lights, and to be afraid to walk outside or wait at the bus stop lest this also happen to us, to wonder if we knew her. Have a little consideration for the victim, whoever she was. Save your clever, bumper-sticker-rhetoric for a few days from now when more is known and the residents in the area have come out of survival-based fear.

  • We are deleting comments that speculate on the identity of the gunshot victim.

  • I biked that route regularly for three years. As soon as it got dark, the neighborhood got worse. I was harassed multiple times, young men would walk out into the street and purposely stand in front of me and force me to swerve out of the way and someone once threw a bottle at me which smashed a few feet away. It was bad enough that I took an alternate route after daylight savings time changes. Most of California Ave. feels pretty safe, except for about 4-5 blocks in that neighborhood. I know a few people who got mugged (on their bike) right around California and Oregon.

    As I start riding again, I am again reminded to avoid that neighborhood.

  • berkeleygirl

    I agree. I, too, am a part of the community in South Berkeley in that I teach at Longfellow. Many of our students live in this neighborhood and many heard/saw much of what happened last night. They did not choose to live where they do. Longfellow is an incredibly safe, supportive environment and our counseling department has already addressed this event. Whoever this woman was and whatever she was doing does not mean she deserved to die in such a violent and sudden manner.

  • jterhorst

    I bike past there twice a day on my commute. Have passed by at all hours of the night and day and never had a problem in four years. Still this is very upsetting. Channing / Russell / Milvia / King all seem less sketchy at night if you are looking for an alt. route.

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    your sarcasm is cold, unnecessary, and unwelcome!

  • irisandjules

    The first thing I was taught when I moved to Berkeley from Somerville, MA was that Berkeley is not safe – especially at night. It did not fit at all with my image of Berkeley (nice university town, great bike riding, liberal, etc) especially since in Somerville I walked at all times of the night without any worry. I frequently walked home on the bike path from Davis Square. In my mind Berkeley was idyllic when I moved here, and I did not really believe the advice. Unfortunately, it is true – Berkeley is not safe and I am not out after dark by myself ever. As we know, even two people are not safe. It is very, very sad.

  • Seriously, the snarky, cynical and heartless comments are one reason I tend to avoid the Berkeleyside comment section. It’s a real problem.

  • berkopinionator

    Time to follow the example of NYC. Stop and frisk, and confiscate illegal guns before people are murdered.

  • The Sharkey

    Stick to areas with lots of other people. Don’t go out alone at night. Stay out of South Berkeley if you can.

    With our proximity to Oakland we’re bound to see increases in crime as their police force becomes increasingly overwhelmed.

  • bgal4

    The shooting occurred closer to Ward than Derby on Sacramento. It is highly unlikely that the shooting was random. This area has plenty of folks that are drug addicts, which can lead to violent crime. Don’t know why the dept has not included race with gender and age details.

  • berkeleyhigh1999

    yes, please sharkey, you stay out of South Berkeley. I will stay out of you endless berkeleyside commenting bubble that you live in.

  • BBnet3000

    Stop and frisk isnt actually effective. They stop minorities at a hugely disproportional rate, and actually find guns slightly more often on white people. However, they stop hundreds of thousands of people and find a pathetically small number of weapons.

  • guest

    “Some of us have to deal with this on a more personal level. .. to have heard the
    gunshots, to hear the sirens and see the flashing lights, and to be
    afraid to walk outside or wait at the bus stop lest this also happen to
    us, to wonder if we knew her.”

    Dear kamarie:

    One of the four 2012 homicide victims was my neighbor. While there was no gunshot involved, the rest of what you say was and is true for us as well. It gets better but it does not go away. I hope that you can find things to do (other than to wait for time to heal your wounds) that restore your belief that you can safely go about your business in your neighborhood.

  • Perhaps you should listen to this first before coming to that conclusion: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/414/right-to-remain-silent

  • kamarie

    Thanks, guest, your kind words are much appreciated.

  • bgal4
  • berkeleykev

    I lived five blocks from the spot of the shooting for 16 years. That area was much, much worse before. In the nineties you would hear multiple gun battles with distinctly different caliber weapons EVERY summer weekend (pop pop BOOM pop pop BOOM BOOM… BOOM. BOOM. No more pop pop). Listening to the battles and knowing someone just died is horrible.
    Seeing the yellow tape is horrible.


    The public debate about the pot shop routinely cited loitering, drug use and threatening characters as issues directly related to the pot shop. Anyone who is honest (and knows the area) knows that those associations were essentially garbage. Violent crime existed there before the pot shop, and exists there after the pot shop.

    See, here’s the thing: I’d actually like to see the city (government and people) do something about crime, especially (but not only) violent crime. Getting outraged about red herrings like the pot shop diverts our focus from the real issues.

    When the usual strident voices indulge in rants against pot, pot smokers and pot clubs they lose legitimacy, even though they may also have some very good points about other issues.

    We’ve got to clear the nonsense before we can address the reality.

    (BTW, I was in favor of shutting down the club, simply because they did not follow the city’s rules. What I took issue with was the dishonest meta-analysis of the effect on the neighborhood.)

  • “have heard the gunshots, to hear the sirens and see the flashing lights, and to be afraid to walk outside”

    You best stay far away of San Francisco then, you would completely freak out

  • guest

    What do you recommend “the state of California and the City of Berkeley” do differently to “take crime seriously’?

  • The Sharkey

    Hugely disproportionate to what? Finding weapons is not the only goal of stop & frisk laws. Not finding weapons could mean that the laws are working, by scaring people into not carrying weapons.

  • guest

    You are welcome. I like the fact that the school is providing counseling for students who are traumatized by this event. I wonder if the Mental Health people employed by the city have considered doing the same equally or more affected adults.

  • The Sharkey

    Nah. Getting outraged about things like the Post Office building getting sold is a real red herring.

  • kamarie

    I’m well aware of crime in San Francisco. In my opinion, murders are not acceptable there, either, and San Francisco residents should also not have to tolerate murders or live with an “acceptable murder quotient” or deal with strangers on the internet using the tragedy as a way to show off their witty commentary in news article comments (which was the point of my initial comment). So given all that, I’m not sure what you were getting at.

  • guest

    *doing the same for equally or more affected adults*

  • signoradefarge

    What is the source of your statistice?
    (This message might be posted twice because it didn’t seem to work on the first try.)

  • John Holland

    “Berkeleykev” wrote:

    Getting outraged about red herrings like the pot shop diverts our focus from the real issues.

    Ding ding ding ding ding.

  • bgal4

    We know the identity.

  • Uptohere1

    I attended school at Berkeley from 1967 through 1973; a lot of that time I biked in from my apartment near 41st and Telegraph, and I rode my bike all around Berkeley day and night, since it was my only transportation. In all those years, although there were plenty of civil disturbances and demonstrations going on, nobody ever bothered or threatened me personally; I never felt in fear of crime, even though sometimes it would be very late when I rode back from studying on campus. (One time, an older man “flashed” me on Telegraph as he was driving alongside me, but I was never personally assaulted or menaced.) It makes me very sad that people can no longer enjoy the experience of living and riding around in that area as I did. I guess in the nearly forty years since that time, things have deteriorated. Higher costs, more crime, more shattered lives. In many ways like technology and communications, things have improved, but in the way people treat one another, not so.

  • bingo

    I’ve also lived in somerville (grad school) and berkeley (now). I didn’t feel particularly safe in either environment, FWIW. when the weather is worse (Boston for 1/2 the year) crime is naturally diminished.

  • Guest

    And who is being killed with the guns? Members of minorities, by other generally within their own minority groups. The NYC cops are using Sutton’s Law, and they are making life on the streets safer for everyone, especially those minorities. Applied frequently enough, S&F makes it difficult for anyone to carry without risk of discovery, thus they do so less often, and spontaneous street shootings are suppressed. What’s not to like about that?

  • guest

    The population of New York City is about 8.25 million. That’s a lot of stopping and frisking. I’d imagine that Wall Street types will quickly grow tired of being treated this way.

  • hateman jr

    There’s two projects right on Derby st with security cameras. So as long as their working there should be some clues on the video. Of course this is Berkeley were unless the criminal is walking down the street with a bloody knife, most murderers are never caught.

  • guest2

    Well it’s not Wall Street types who pull out guns and shoot young women in the street peddling a bike.