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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  • The Sharkey

    Right across the street from Bing’s Liquor, low-income housing, the Berkeley Adult School, and right around the corner from the illegal marijuana dispensary “40 Acres.”

    Mugging, or drug deal gone bad? I’ve noticed what appear to be hand-to-hand drug sales on that corner in the past.

  • anon

    Will you join me in making Berkeley a CCTV/security camera city, like London? We need them for basic public safety. Do not let the tyranny of the few – “privacy” advocates, ACLU, anti-corporation liberals – make us suffer the horrors of crime and unsolved murders.

  • bgal4

    Lance, that is west not north Berkeley.

  • guest

    God forbid. Stop trying to profit off of tragedy. What the hell is wrong with you people?

  • guest

    Drug deal, I’ll bet.

  • The Sharkey

    Interesting – did you say the same thing when Obama, Pelosi, Feinstein, and the rest started calling for gun bans in the wake of the Sandy Hook murders?

  • WestBerkGal

    I would call it Northwest Berkeley.

  • guest

    Actually, yes. Did you?

  • guest

    That’s just down the street from my house — thankfully the riff-raff tends to stay west of San Pablo. I’m hoping this doesn’t indicate something more is afoot to the east of San Pablo.

  • bgal4

    could be related to the uptick in turf battles in Oakland. Last year many of shooting associated with Sacramento St involved WSB, east Oakland and west Oakland players.

  • The Sharkey

    A check of Google Maps shows that Google calls it “Northwest Berkeley” as well.

  • Thankfully for who? You? What about those who live west of San Pablo?

  • Guest

    still technically North Berkeley as it’s only a few blocks south of the Albany border, in addition to being right down the street from North Berkeley Bart. Dismissing it as a West Berkeley problem is beside the point… this should be troubling to anyone living in the surrounding area.

  • bgal4

    Tribune reports “Witnesses said they saw as many as four people running west on Delaware Street after the shooting, but no arrests were made.”

  • The Sharkey

    Honestly, I’m torn on that issue, and this one too. I think both sides have merit, but they usually go about things the wrong way.

    We definitely need to do something about gun violence in the USA, but laws targeting rifles don’t make sense since the real problem is handguns.

    Blanketing the city in CCTV would be awful. But identifying specific areas that are “trouble” spots and putting cameras in them could help deter crime or assist in catching criminals after the fact and getting them off the streets.

  • Tizzielish

    Cameras create a somewhat false sense of security. It is often VERY hard to identify someone from a security camera image. In residential buildings, with cameras in the lobby 24/7/365, even tho crimes like $800 bike thefts from bike rooms with security and security cameras can be common and if someone will spend hours and hours looking through the film, even if you see the thief breaking the kyptonite lock, you can’t ID the criminal and, likely, the criminal lives in the building cause there is a security code to get in the bike room (or else someone who lives here sold the code to help a friend steal bikes?).

    My point: security cameras might deter some shoplifting but they don’t really deter people mowing down humans with loaded guns. IMHO. And such cameras don’t deter crime: they don’t greatly increase the likelihood of ID’ing the criminal. The person(s) viewing the security footage has to know the guy. They sometimes print photos of suspected criminals that enter my building and pass them to all residents and ask for info but if the suspected criminal is a friend, and likely they are or they wouldn’t get in the building in the first place, looking like they belong here, well, not many will report friends caught on security camera.

    Security cameras are security theater more than actual security. IMHO.

  • neighbor

    across from Bings is not low income housing actually.

  • bgal4

    west of San Pablo is Westside Berkeley, WSB territory.

  • bgal4

    Dismissing?? huh, I have never dismissed street shootings as anything but ALL of our responsibility to suppress.

  • Mrdrew3782

    Blaming low income housing and a marijuana dispensary is a bit short sighted I think. It looks to me like it was a bakery deal gone bad. The thugs were trying to deal delicious baked goods from Casa Latina. Sadly one of them wouldn’t hand over the cinnamon buns and paid for his greed with his life.

  • The Sharkey

    I don’t see anyone here blaming the murder on any of those things, just adding information for people who might not be familiar with that area.

    But your comment making light of a murder with jokes about baked goods seems a bit crass, don’t you think?

  • The Sharkey

    I was referring to the complex next door to Popeye’s. I think it’s purple? Several buildings that look to be from the 1940s.
    Other posters have said it’s low-income housing, but I can’t confirm.

  • Mrdrew3782

    I don’t know anything about the situation or who was killed. All I know is that it happened right in front of somewhere I was just standing on Saturday. I was eating at Casa Latina and visiting the Unique Shop across the street. All I have right now is humour. Once more facts come out and we know what is going on we can have a serious discussion.

  • Mrdrew3782

    I visit Casa Latina often and just recently discovered the Unique Shop across the street. Midas is also very handy when your car is on trouble. Albatross is right there as well. I would hate to see this nice little stretch of San Pablo become a crime area.

  • The Sharkey

    Making the comment that Casa Latina and a trinket shop are also there is fine.
    Turning that comment into a joke about baked goods still seems pretty off-color to me.

    But it may all be moot since emerging reports make it sound like the shooting may have happened somewhere further west, and the intersection in question is just where the victim happened to collapse and die rather than where he was shot.

  • Chris

    I know the newer buildings on the north side of Francisco (abutting adult school) are low-income housing. Not sure about the older rentals near Popeyes.

  • Chris

    Another reason to NOT have a 24 hour 7-11 nearby…

  • TN

    When I’ve passed through the intersection at Delaware and San Pablo in the afternoon, I’ve frequently noticed young men hanging out in front on the fried chicken shop. I noticed them not because they were young black men but because they were wearing what I think of as “street” attire.

    Since I’m always passing through I don’t know how long they linger at that spot or how regularly they hang out there.

    But I have wondered what was going on.

  • Guest

    “Right across the street from Bing’s Liquor, low-income housing, the Berkeley Adult School, and right around the corner from the illegal marijuana dispensary “40 Acres.”

    Mugging, or drug deal gone bad? I’ve noticed what appear to be hand-to-hand drug sales on that corner in the past.”

    That is the comment you left. I was making a joke based on your “drug deal gone bad.”

    Sorry if it was so offensive.

  • Duh

    Photographic evidence solves crimes.

  • guest1

    What exactly does ‘low-income’ have to do with drug dealing? Are you implying that low-income people are drug dealers? Perhaps this person doesn’t even live in Berkeley. Perhaps he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • WestBerkGal


  • WestBerkGal

    Yuck, “guest”. That’s a really inane thing to say. We are a very small city. A shooting anywhere in the city isn’t good for any of us.

  • AnonyMouse

    Pretty sure red is the color of the Westside gang. Red Washington Nationals baseball caps are a tell tale giveaway.

  • Chris J

    How do you figure profit out of that post? Do you KNOW that ‘anon’ is a representative of some CCTV manufacturing firm?

  • Chris J

    Don’t see how targeting that particular neighborhood (Delaware and San Pablo) would be realistic. Hell, I live only about two blocks from there and used to park my car right where the guy was shot.

  • Chris J

    Low-income is a nice way of simply saying ‘cheap and run down’ in this case.

  • Chris J

    I seriously doubt it. There were five murders in Berkeley last year? Where were the murders located? I suspect random, though the BPD might feel that the recorded murders were in established ‘crime zones’ or, shall we say, where the socially disadvantaged live. Whatever.

  • David D.

    This has nothing to do with any 7-11–past, present, or future. If you want to blame a business, blame the sketchy Bing’s liquor store on the corner of San Pablo & Delaware.

  • David D.

    No, this is definitely not North Berkeley. It is in the north(west) part of Berkeley, yes, but North Berkeley is a neighborhood to the northeast of North Berkeley BART Station. The area to the west of the station is more often referred to as Northwest Berkeley.

  • Chris J

    This incident of murder is horrific, I agree, and pretty close to home…literally for me, but it is not part of the incentive my wife and I feel that has led us to move out of this country in order to retire–that reasoning is strictly economic. One could easily tack on ‘murder around the corner’ as another reason, but all things being equal, I still feel as if Berkeley is a relatively safe place to live for old white folks–unless you are part of the statistical black males under 25 who have a higher incidence of violent dean. That ain’t racism, its only statistics.

  • David D.

    The complex next to Popeye’s is not low-income housing. It is cheap, yes, but I’ve actually seen one of the apartments for rent on Craigslist. The newer housing on the north side of Francisco, next to the adult school, is most likely low-income housing based on the design and clientele.

  • Chris J

    ‘Guest’ doesn’t think that is his problem. Our neighborhood (Delaware and Chestnut) back in 1994 when we moved in was considered ‘transitional’ from…from whatever it was to what is now– essentially middle class.

  • karol

    i turned onto delaware from san pablo this morning around 10:45 and saw 1 guy (looked hispanic, red/black/gray baggy clothing and a beanie) walking on delaware towards san pablo and another 2 guys (possible african american, wearing dark baggy clothing) on the opposite side of delaware walking towards 9th. i hope neither parties were the shooter or the victim. horrible that this has happened, especially during the day.

  • David D.

    Oh yes, let’s not forget the dispensary next to (above?) the Albatross.

  • The Sharkey

    Cameras outside most of the liquor stores on San Pablo that gave Police a live view of what was going on would be OK by me. Even if they just helped spot drunk drivers, it would be a positive thing.

  • The Sharkey

    Yeah, seriously. There always seem to be sketchy people hanging out around Bing’s at night when I go to the Albatross.

  • This is definitely West Berkeley. The confusion comes into play with the way Google maps labels the area, which seems to be based on District lines in the city

    The district lines however are political divisions, they are not the practical crime divisions that are commonly referred to by BPD (Area 4 West Berkeley)–

  • localbtowner

    JK park is core home turf for WSB, who occasionally clash with African American neighborhood dealers/organizations in south Berkeley and North Oakland for decades. Living there and being unaware of this fact really puts persons at a disadvantage to understanding what happens in their neighborhood, and why, particularly if you are new to the area. It is too early to say if this particular crime was part of that on-going battle…….

  • Bob

    I lived in a four-plex on the corner of 10th and Delaware for six years up until November of last year so i know this area very well.
    In recent years there had been an increase in violence and drug dealing in this neighbourhood,
    There was a incident of shots fired with some bullets ending up in the side of a house on the 10th block of Delaware. We’d find condom wrappers in the gardens,, people starting dumping their trash in the street on a semi regular basis.I had to call the police when a brawl broke out in the street, outside the same house that years before had seen the occupants try to light a car on fire ( unsuccessful) That same house incidentally was visited bu Paramedics/fire Department at least 4 time s a year. I later learned that the pyromaniac in question was on parole.
    We called our Local Councilmember Linda Maio to voice our concerns, It took forever for her to attempt to address these issues by which time we decided to leave the area not a moment too soon.
    I don’t know why the Police chose to keep such a low profile in the area. Aside from callouts the only time when saw them was when they were speeding by , light on , sirens waling , on their way to another incident elsewhere.