Police watch for violence at funeral for 19-year-old

Berkeley police maintained a presence Thursday outside McGee Baptist Church, the site of the funeral for 19-year old Ceejay Reed. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Berkeley police maintained a presence Thursday outside McGee Ave. Baptist Church, the site of the funeral for 19-year-old Ceejay Reed. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Berkeley police were out in force Thursday for the funeral of Ceejay Reed, 19, at McGee Avenue Baptist Church in South Berkeley.

The police established a visible presence on McGee and Stuart Street around 11 a.m. in an effort to deter a repeat of a shooting Tuesday night in East Oakland during a street vigil for Reed. On that occasion, a car driving by a group of people mourning Reed in the 5000 block of Melrose Avenue fired 20 to 30 bullets, one of which killed a 19-year-old Antioch man. Some of the bullets shattered the window of Oakland Fire Station 18, narrowly missing two firefighters, according to news reports.

Mourners gathered in front of McGee Baptist Church. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Mourners gathered in front of McGee Avenue Baptist Church. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Reed was killed in a drive-by shooting on 53rd Street in North Oakland on April 26 around 9:30 p.m. He and some friends had just parked a car when they were sprayed with bullets. The other two were also shot, but are expected to recover.

Reed’s family had held the vigil in East Oakland because of safety concerns, police told the Oakland Tribune.


A limousine from Fouche's Hudson Funeral Home brought the family to the church. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
A limousine from Fouche’s Hudson Funeral Home brought the family to the church. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Berkeley police were concerned that those who shot up the vigil for Reed on Tuesday might come to his funeral. The department sent six police cars and a motorcycle officer to the area around McGee Avenue Baptist Church to act as a deterrent. The officers parked a short distance away from the entrance of the church so as not to interfere with those going to the funeral.

A friend of Ceejay Reed's holds up a laminated memorial to him. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
A friend of Ceejay Reed’s holds up a laminated memorial to him. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

“Obviously we are concerned about what happened in Oakland,” said Sgt. Andrew Rateaver. “We don’t want a repeat of that. We are here to allow mourners to mourn in safety.”

A number of the officers monitoring the activity around the church belonged to the police reserves, said Rateaver. They are part-time, on-call officers, he said.

A number of mourners, many of whom were dressed in white, said they welcomed the police presence.

“It’s a good thing,” said one woman, who did not identify herself. “We feel safe about that. Put that in.”

Reed lived in Oakland at the time of his death, but used to live in Berkeley, according to one of the mourners.

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