Police release name of Ashkenaz shooting suspect

Ashkenaz’s rustic-looking building on San Pablo. Photo: Jeremy Brooks

The Berkeley Police Department has released the name of one of the alleged shooters from Saturday morning’s robbery at the Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, which sent two people to the hospital with serious injuries from the shooting.

On Tuesday evening, police publicly identified the man, who was arrested Saturday, as Christopher James Washington, 25, of Rodeo. Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said police do not plan to release a booking photograph of Washington.

“This case is still active and our detectives are working hard following up on leads,” she said in a prepared statement. “The release of the photograph could jeopardize the overall investigation.”

Coats said Washington is being charged with robbery, attempted murder, discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony causing great bodily injury and discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony.

According to the Alameda County sheriff’s department, Washington is being held at Santa Rita Jail without bail. He was scheduled to have been arraigned Tuesday at 2 p.m.

According to the sheriff’s department, Washington was on parole at the time of his arrest, just after 6 a.m. on Saturday.

According to police, two people with guns walked into the crowded dance hall around 12:05 a.m. on Saturday and demanded cash. The suspects fired guns during the robbery and bullets struck two employees.

Berkeley police arrived quickly and saw the man later identified as Washington running down San Pablo Avenue, according to authorities. Officers surrounded the block, warned neighbors to stay inside, and brought in the Police Department’s Barricaded Subject Hostage Negotiation Team. Police, along with a deputy from the K-9 unit of the Alameda County sheriff’s department, did a yard-to-yard search for the suspect. Washington was arrested after being located behind a building in the 1300 block of San Pablo. The other suspect in the shooting remains at large.

According to a post by an Ashkenaz representative on Facebook, both shooting victims had been released from the hospital as of Tuesday evening: “Both of our employees’ recovery has gone remarkably well, and both have been released from the hospital! Of course they do need recuperation and healing, so while appreciating all well-wishes and concern, we, they, and their families ask that folks refrain from calling, etc. at this time.”

A benefit show is in the works, and donations to the organization are being accepted to help with costs related to the victims’ recovery: “In the wake of the robbery and their serious injuries, we are planning on setting up a benefit show as well as special assistance funds. In the meantime, donations are gratefully accepted – at our website, (via PayPal), or by check to 1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702.”

Ashkenaz ‘celebrates for peace’ after shootings [03.18.13]
Two Ashkenaz employees shot during robbery [03.16.13]

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  • sue

    It took 6 hours to find the suspect? Anyone know how long for the K-9 unit to arrive?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    What is the rationale for not releasing his photo? Perhaps someone who recognizes him might recall seeing him with the missing accomplice?

  • batard


  • Guest

    arrest —


  • Guest

    oh, sorry …. that , and:

    PC AT187(A)+ F
    PC 12022.53(B F
    PC 12022.7 F PC 12022(A)(1 F
    PC 211-2 + F PC 211-2+ F
    PC 289(A(1(A+ F
    PC 29800(A(1+ F

  • Sad for the community

  • Releasing a photo has always been an issue for BPD. I’ve been told by previous area coordinators that you can get a photo by making a request in person at BPD. Short of that, the best you can do is look up info on the Alameda County Inmate Locator after an arrest is made. No photos there either, but it provides details that newspapers generally do not report.

  • guest

    Attempting to avoid litigation is imminently rational as long as it is done in a rational fashion.

  • bgal4

    and if you know anything about how they operate particularly regarding the civil laws which directly support community policing goals you would know that Berkeley is poltical before rational.

    been there……
    on these very topics and other relevant matters.

  • guest

    You’re right. There’s not enough police coverage in the precincts at night; it’s a good assumption the available police will be dealing with Telegraph.

  • wheeler57

    Actually, six hours to scour through at least a couple of dozen yards trying to find a hiding fugitive, isn’t really that bad. Down here in South Berkeley, I’ve seen the police spend more time than that, while trying to find someone hiding in a backyard. Some criminals are actually very clever about finding hiding places, and are very slick at avoiding the cops.

    Of course, a lot of this depends on what crime the suspect committed. Sometimes, if it’s just some type of petty crime like shoplifting, etc., the police will often call off the search after an hour or so. In this particular case, since two people were shot in an armed robbery, the police will then do whatever it takes to catch a suspect.

  • Or perhaps he may be recognized for other crimes committed.