Man shot dead in Berkeley, first homicide of 2013


Berkeley police’s crime scene van near the site of the shooting on Delaware Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso

By Lance Knobel and Emilie Raguso

Update, Feb. 5: The name of the victim of the Feb. 4 fatal shooting on Delaware Street has not been released by authorities, but in an article in the Oakland Tribune he was identified as 34-year-old Zontee Jones. Jones’ girlfriend, Teena Alexander, told reporter Doug Oakley that the slain man lived in Berkeley and Richmond, and worked as a maintenance man at her apartment building on Delaware.

Update 4:29 p.m. Police have released a statement indicating that the victim suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. He was 34. His name has not been released by police “out of respect for those family or friends that still need to be notified of his passing.”

Police ask witnesses with information about this incident to call the department’s homicide detail at 510-981-5741, or the department’s non-emergency number, 510-981-5900. Tipsters who wish to  remain anonymous can call the Bay Area Crimes Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Update 2:55 p.m. A man was shot and killed at around 11 a.m. Monday on Delaware Street just west of San Pablo Avenue.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley police and Albany paramedics responded to multiple calls starting at 11:08 a.m. reporting shots fired at 1080 Delaware. When police arrived, they found a man who had been shot at least once. Coats said no one was in custody and that the victim’s identity had not been released.

The victim was taken to Highland Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to Coats, Berkeley police are on the scene collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses. Delaware had been blocked off with crime tape at both San Pablo and 10th Street.

“We have had reports that people were seen running from the area,” Coats said. “They’re still trying to figure out if they were involved in the incident.”

Caption here

A shooting around 11 a.m. on Monday morning occurred near the intersection of Delaware and San Pablo

Update 2 p.m. Another witness told Berkeleyside that she saw the victim turn right from San Pablo and walk west on Delaware. He was with another young man, who was wearing a red jacket. She then heard a “pop, pop,” sound.

“I made a comment, ‘That’s not a firecracker,” she said. “And then we heard people screaming, ‘Where’s the police? Where’s the ambulance?'”

She and others nearby went over to try to help calm the scene until police arrived. Young people were crowded around the victim and she reminded them to try to move the victim as little as possible. She said she called police twice, and saw many others on their phones also trying to get through to emergency personnel.

“In a situation like that,” the witness said, “seconds seem like forever. It seemed like forever before [the police] got here.”

She described the scene as “horrible, heart-wrenching.” “He was just a kid. What a waste,” she said.

A crime scene tech photographs items at the scene of Monday's shooting. Photo: Emilie Raguso

A crime scene tech photographs items at the scene of Monday’s shooting. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Update 1:40 p.m. Berkeleyside spoke to a witness who was nearby at the time of the shooting. The witness, who asked not to be identified, said he heard a “pop, pop, pop,” and saw a man who he believes was the victim running east on Delaware.

When the witness got closer, he saw the victim lying by a car in front of 1080 Delaware. A number of people were yelling, “Oh, they shot him! Oh, they killed him!” The witness described the victim as a black man who appeared to be in his 20s. The witness said that shortly after the sounds of shooting, he saw a car drive away east on Delaware, but he wasn’t sure if it was related.

This morning’s shooting is the first homicide of the year in Berkeley. In 2012, there were five homicides in the city.

Berkeleyside will update the story as details emerge. This story was originally posted at 1:07 p.m.

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  • Chris

    The adult school is where juveniles who have been kicked out of other alameda country schools go for their education. So you have a handful of very troubled youths from ALL OVER alameda county going to the adult school several times a week. Do you think having these students around help or harm the neighborhood?

  • Just Sayin

    You are correct David. There are also signs on the property indicating it is low-income housing.

  • Welcome back to reality!

    Two 40 acres security guards were arrested in the last 6 months with possession of large amounts of marijuana and it was bagged for sale. They are also prior felons. In this case, being suspicious of that operation is quite healthy.

  • bgal4

    And the fact that the two men involved in the Dec 28 homicide are both known street level drug dealers, including Civic Center park. Do you really want mean to believe that never used dispensary purchased product for street sales? I ain’t so stupid.

  • Chris

    This is just a guess, but someone probably called 911 – which sent them to CHP – which called up the ambulance.

  • Chris

    There is 1 officer to patrol all of the marina to san pablo, bordered on the south by Bancroft and on the north by Virginia. That is a LOT of physical ground (about 60 sq blocs plus the marina) to cover for 1 person in a car.

  • Guest

    I’m not blaming the counter staff; a lot of them have battle fatigue. And I agree about the corrosive effects of the “homeless advocates,” and the city gov’t not living up to its responsibilities.

    However, that doesn’t change the fact that the staff can make a difference if they choose to do so. A lot of their clientele are also making minimum wage, btw. For some reason, the activist types seem to think it’s only the well-off who object to being harassed or terrorized In fact, the working poor would also like to be able to eat lunch in peace.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    That makes sense, thanks.

  • According to the Berkeley police, Albany paramedics were called because Berkeley Fire Department was on another call. The BPD spokeswoman said it was a routine use of a mutual aid agreement. It was in everyone’s interest to get the swiftest response, irrespective of jurisdiction.

  • guest

    I congratulate you on a crystal-clear, courageous, and moral response. If only…

  • BING’s

    Irresponsible ? I completely disagree I work at BING’s an we try our best to keep negative people off the block an out the store. It’s not easy at it seems

  • bgal4

    Do you have surveillance cameras on the exterior and interior of the business?

  • Stella D.

    I am an adult school English teacher, and I would not characterize the adult school students that way. They are all hard working adults trying to improve skills. I was also an adult school student, taking Arabic classes. There are also sewing classes, citizenship classes, baking classes. Please don’t make generalizations. No one is forced to go to adult school. They are adults and not juveniles.

  • Thank you bgal4. You said it better than anyone else. I AM A SNITCH.

  • bgal4

    Thanks to both of you. Do I dare make/ wear the T-shirt, I AM A SNITCH.

  • Bings

    The officers already came an took the footage an surveillance ..they are investigating

  • redrick

    what does working at the dispensary have to do with a murder that was not anywere near it

  • redrick

    i stop being afraid of things many years ago, ive walk those streets, fought on them been beat by the police on them watch friends and family shot, beat, and so on, just making a point, maybe it wasnt random, but it had nothing to do with bings the albotros, it may have to do with the victim (my personal friend) but thats all. come hang out sometime and get your questions answered the right way, and save the bullshit for channel 2

  • bgal4
  • redrick

    not sure yet but i hear about an argument, about what and with who i dnt knw

  • victem of crime

    I would like to say something, everyone has an opinion and when.its all said and done someone lost their life. I am a victim of a horrific crime in Berkeley my finance was gunned down in our backyard so rather and when I finally had the strength to read the comments it just made my pain worse because everybody speculate what happened but you don’t know so I think all we should do is send the family many prayers

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Yes, please. And I echo the sentiments above: the situational ethics need to go.

  • a. guest

    fix your sign. get all the crap out of your windows so people can see inside. clean up the interior of the store. if you let your business look like it belongs in the ghetto, people will treat the area like it’s the ghetto.

  • Boalted

    bgal4…about your T-shirt idea…here’s one acronym based suggestion, I’m sure Berkeleyans will find others:

    S.N.I.T.C.H. = Saying Nothing Is The Coward’s Habit

  • Guest

    Here we go with another of those “it just happened, deal with it” remarks. VofC, redrick, Mrs B, etc: it happened for a reason, and people want to know what that reason was. When you try to convince us that the reasons are none of our business, all you are doing is letting us see that you are part of the problem. When citizens like you treat murder as if it is an act of God, you allow it to continue.It isn’t an act of God, it is an act of an evil person. Don’t tolerate it. As bgal4 had the guts to say: SNITCH. Get the thugs and the guns off the streets and save the life of someone you love, or someone you don’t know.

  • bgal4

    excellent! you are likely to see me in the this shirt.

  • bgal4

    If think you are referring to Tobi, I know the family well when the kids were younger. I have a great photo of Tobi in 1991 at my son’s 5 year old B-day up in Tilden taking a turn at the pinata. Tobi was a very sweet person. Anonymous people have posted here that the suspect in his murder is known to friends, family and police, yet police cannot charge without more evidence. People need to step up and make this right.

  • bgal4

    Details, not speculation.

    While Berkeley Police Department has identified the victim as a
    34-year-old male, they will not yet be releasing the victim’s name “out
    of respect for those family or friends that still need to be notified of
    his passing,” according to the department’s press release. A makeshift
    memorial at the scene, however, identified the victim as Zontee Jones.

    After the shooting, a gold-colored sedan was seen driving up to the
    victim’s body and idling next to it for a while before driving away from
    the scene, according to Berkeley resident Vince Dee.

    Dee, who lives across from the location of the shooting, was able to
    record the incident with security cameras installed outside his home.

    There was a group of young people gathered around the gold sedan a
    few minutes before the shooting occurred, according to Dee. In the
    security footage, Dee said the victim could be seen running away from
    the car toward San Pablo Avenue, before collapsing.

    The car then drove up alongside the victim’s body, and the driver left the vehicle to check on the victim, Dee continued.

    “The driver got out and stood there for a couple of minutes,” Dee
    said. “At some point, the driver backed the car away from the body and
    disappeared outside of the camera’s range.”

  • Yes. Corrected.

  • PragmaticProgressive


  • emraguso

    FYI: The cousins charged in this fatal shooting took a manslaughter plea today. Details are here: