Berkeley police arrest felon, find gun after short chase

Image: Google Maps

Image: Google Maps

Earlier this week, police arrested a felon on probation after an attempted “investigative stop” near the Ashby BART station, authorities said Thursday.

On Tuesday at about 4:20 p.m., police tried to stop a man walking near the intersection of Harper and Woolsey streets, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, near the southwest corner of the BART station.

The pedestrian fled, and ignored orders from officers to stop, said Coats. Officers gave chase, and ultimately found the man hiding about a block away in the bushes in the 1800 block of Woolsey, she said.

Officers recovered a discarded handgun during the investigation.

Police identified the man as 25-year-old Rashee Alexander of Berkeley. He was arrested on suspicion of a range of violations, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest and probation violation.

According to the Alameda County sheriff’s department, Alexander had been sentenced in 2009 on a range of charges, including illegal possession of an assault weapon.

He is being held in the Berkeley Jail, and is scheduled for a hearing to revoke his probation on Friday at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse at 9 a.m. in Department 9.

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  • bgal4

    Damn, stop and frisk works.

  • berkopinionator

    Keep stopping and disarming convicted felons carrying illegal firearms in violation of their probation!!! Excellent work BPD!

  • 4Eenie

    Good job again, BPD!

  • Guest

    This wasn’t stop and frisk, this was an investigative stop of someone who was on felony probation, had a search clause, etc. Stop and frisk allows cops to search anyone for any reason they deem suspicious, even people with no criminal past or probation. This was not stop and frisk, but was just a situation were someone with a felony criminal history was seen, recognized and stopped by police.

  • Peter Moore

    I wondered what was going on when I saw the cops zooming around and a helicopter hovering above. Thanks for the update.

  • bgal4

    oh please, the so-called “stop and frisk” is an legal Terry investigative stop based on probable cause.

    Once police identified Alexander as on probation they have the legal right to initiate a four-way search, which includes his home, person, car and the bushes.

  • The_Sharkey

    There is no indication at all that the officers knew they were approaching a felon. An “investigative stop” does not imply that the person is a felon, and the way the story is written makes it seem like the officers did not know the identity of the man when they approached him.

  • The_Sharkey

    So let’s break this one down:
    1.) A felon in possession of an automatic pistol, showing that criminals don’t care about gun laws.
    2.) A criminal with a handgun (not an assault rifle) the weapon of choice for the commission of crime and murder in the USA.

    But, you know, we need to pass specific legislation to target “assault rifles.” After all, it’s more important to feel good than to try to actually address the problem directly.

  • iicisco

    The Heli you saw was owned by CHP and advertently aided in the capture of the outstanding suspect.

  • Charles_Siegel

    “According to the Alameda County sheriff’s department, Alexander had been
    sentenced in 2009 on a range of charges, including illegal possession
    of an assault weapon.”

    I am just kidding you, Sharkey, rather than trying to start another argument about assault weapons.

    It is good to see you back after your recent hiatus.

  • tor_berg

    So, by your logic, because laws are violated, laws are an ineffective approach to ensuring public safety. Thus, we should have no gun regulations, including the ban on felons possessing firearms. In which case, Mr. Alexander would have been within his legal rights, and likely would not have fled, as he was violating no laws nor the conditions of his probation. Indeed, as Charles notes, Mr. Alexander likely would not have even been on probation, since the assault rifle he once owned would have been perfectly legal. So without gun regulations, BPD would have sent Mr. Alexander on his merry way with his firearm. Good plan.

    Fortunately, though, we do have a raft of strict gun laws in California, including legislation targeting “assault rifles,” which was passed 25 years ago. Welcome to 2013. Because California legislators addressed this problem directly, a violent criminal with a penchant for high-powered weapons has been removed from society. How is this an undesirable outcome?

  • The_Sharkey

    No, Tor. By my logic we should pass laws targeting handguns, since they are the types of guns used in the overwhelming majority of crimes and murders in the United States.
    I happen to think that trying to solve the problem of gun violence by banning a type of weapon that is used in an extreme minority of incidents of gun violence – while completely ignoring the kind of gun used most often – is moronic. Do you disagree?

    Check Charles’ quote more carefully – “a range of charges” – I don’t know what those other things are. Since you’re sure he wouldn’t have been on probation without the weapons possession charge, can you list what those other charges were?

  • The_Sharkey

    Thanks. :-)

    I lost the password to my Disqus account, and I’m also trying to cut down on my posting a little bit. I don’t want these comment pages to turn into an echo chamber, and a lot of the time it seems like petty arguments spring up based more on screen names than topical disagreements.

    Somebody ought to start a discussion board or something where we could all kvetch and prattle on about various stories without taking over Berkeleyside.

  • tor_berg

    I don’t think anyone is ignoring handguns. The centerpiece of the Obama Administrations gun violence proposals is universal background checks for all firearm purchases, which would naturally include handguns. Proposals for universal firearm registration and exposing gun manufacturers to liability would also apply to handguns. These are common-sense proposals that should and likely will become U.S. law,

    And yes, I absolutely disagree that it’s unnecessary to ban assault weapons because they are used in relatively few gun crimes. There is no reason for civilians to own semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, there is a public safety interest in banning them, so they should be banned. Relatively few murders are committed with sticks of dynamite, but deregulating dynamite would be a very bad idea.

    I note that Mr. Alexander faced a “range of charges” in 2009, but part of the fun of counterfactuals is that they’re made up. Regardless of the circumstances of this case in particular, gun regulations obviously reduce the prevalence of armed criminals.

  • 99problems

    Interesting…we have a name of this individual but what about the identity of the man who died in police custody over a week ago?……..

  • Guest

    The legal standard for a Terry stop / stop and frisk is reasonable suspicion, which is less than probable cause. And in deciding whether or not it works (and at what cost), it’s important to consider the cases in which nothing is found, as well as those in which something is. Reasonable minds can differ on the worthiness of the policy, I think, but it’s a more complex landscape than a single case.

  • Guest again

    (I’ll add that I do think, based on the limited amount of info available, that all worked out well here. I don’t mean to suggest that anything looks unresonable in this case. When I mention stop-and-frisk more broadly, I’m referring to it in the NYC sense, where it’s been very widely implemented with controversial results.)

  • The_Sharkey

    Based on your comments I get the distinct impression that you’re an anti-gun zealot so I see no real point in talking bout how “assault weapon” is a nonsense term and subjecting other readers to a long back-and-forth argument on the subject.

    It really is too bad there isn’t some kind of Berkeley discussion forum where folks could hash out arguments like this. I’d be interested in the discussion, but this really isn’t the right place for it.

  • emraguso

    We actually do have the name but have been trying to connect with CopWatch about some concerns they had about the incident. Hoping to post something today about that.

  • bgal4

    I understand the lower threshold, however to possess either probable cause or reasonable suspicion, an officer
    must be able to cite specificfacts to warrant the

    and yes, I think the social benefits of Terry stops outweigh the personal intrusion.

    Time for everyone to buck up and cooperate to get rid of illegal weapons in the hands of criminals.

  • Just Wondering

    Any chance there is a connection with the murder of the young Chilean a few years ago at the corner on Adeline?

  • serkes

    Berkeleyside has Nosh, how about adding Kvetch?


  • emraguso
  • Guest

    bgal4, you were spot on. this was the incident I referred to earlier this week!

  • bingo

    bgal4, this was the incident I referred to earlier this week that I was right nearby–you were spot on with your suspicions.

  • bgal4

    thanks,the result of observations

  • TheSunDippedInBlack

    There were two brothers here in Dallas, one had been convicted of several felonies, the police recognized him in the dark and were prone to stop and question him at any given time. The other brother didn’t get into trouble and while the police may have known him you couldn’t tell that they did because they didn’t stop him like they did his
    older brother. My point is; even though the article didn’t make any indication
    that the officers knew they were approaching a felon, there is no indication at
    all that they didn’t know, and logically, what other reason could there be for
    them attempting an investigative stop without violating fourth amendment
    rights? Some things don’t have to be stated openly; also, “investigative stop”…does
    it have the same interpretation in California as it does in Ohio?

  • anon

    rashee alexander’s listed address on the police report is on Acton St, where there was another arrest late afternoon on Friday after a police chase through West Berkeley, as well as a crime scene unit and a search of a car and possibly the house.