Police investigate southwest Berkeley drive-by shooting

Bullets damaged three windows in a building on the northwest corner of Potter and Seventh streets Wednesday night. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Bullets damaged three windows in a building on the northwest corner of Potter and Seventh streets Wednesday night. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Update, June 13, 1:20 p.m. Berkeley police said in a press release that “the occupants of two separate cars, a dark colored Honda and a dark colored BMW got into some sort of verbal dispute at the gas station at Ashby and 7th. The BMW pulled out and the Honda followed it. Preliminarily, it appears that an occupant or occupants of the Honda shot at the BMW. Both cars fled the area prior to BPD arrival. As per protocol, BPD alerted the area hospitals to call BPD if any victims of gunshot wounds arrived. No victim or victim(s) have come forward. Officers found one bullet strike on a building at 7th and Ashby as well as a parked truck.”

Original story: Berkeley Police are investigating a drive-by shooting Wednesday night that shattered the glass in several windows in the Wells Fargo building at Potter and Seventh streets, near Ashby Avenue.

Berkeleyside readers reported a “huge police presence” on Potter, and said the street was closed between Seventh and Ninth streets while police combed the area for evidence. One reader said six to eight squad cars were posted on the Seventh Street end of the block and at the 76 gas station across Potter from Wells Fargo. More cruisers were stationed on the Ninth Street end of the block: “It looked like the crime scene van in the middle of the blocked part of Potter Street.”

Photo: Kester Allen

Photo: Kester Allen

Berkeley Police Sgt. Sean Ross said callers reported hearing several shots fired on Potter just before 9 p.m. Police who responded found shell casings in the area, and three windows damaged in the Wells Fargo building. Ross said police believe two vehicles were involved in the shooting, but that both were gone before police arrived.

There were no victims on scene and no injuries had been reported to the Berkeley Police Department as of about 11:35 p.m.

Workers cover a window in the Wells Fargo building that was damaged in the drive-by shooting. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Workers cover a window in the Wells Fargo building that was damaged in the drive-by shooting. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Ross said Potter was closed to traffic from Seventh to Ninth until roughly 11 p.m.

A witness on the scene told Berkeleyside that he saw a car with its passenger door ajar back out of the 76 gas station and then head east on Potter. It was pursued by a second vehicle, a black BMW, that accelerated in reverse down Potter as it followed the first car. The witness said he heard “a bunch” of shots being fired, but could not see where they came from, as he left the area seeking a safer location prior to calling police.

Police said it was as yet undetermined whether the casings found on Potter came from more than one firearm. Sgt. Ross said police are not yet releasing the number or type of casings that were recovered, or additional information about the involved vehicles.

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  • John Holland

    Shootings at banks are not uncommon. Banks operate with huge amounts of cash, and it’s obvious that not all of the customers are legitimate. If banks aren’t dangerous, why do they have security?

    I hope the city does something about that place!

  • PragmaticProgressive

    What are the barriers to blanketing our public spaces with video surveillance? There’s no presumption f privacy and it would either deter these guys or make it easier to ID them.

  • bgal4

    Hey John,
    Your factitious jabs directed at my statement back during the discussion of crime at pot clubs using the term not uncommon is tiresome, worse insensitive. Remember I live in where drive-by shootings are not uncommon, and you live on College Ave (insulated).

    Down on my block last Sunday around 2pm a black sedan pulled up to the public housing looking for a particular black male, KJ. The gangsters in the sedan yelled a warning to the young man hanging out in front saying in very colorful and violent terms to tell KJ to stop dealing on their turf or they would kill him.

    I doubt these incidents with black sedans are connected, my comment is meant to illustrate how different neighborhoods experience our fair city. Residents on my block were distressed and in fear of a shooting on a nice Sunday afternoon. Remember several of our homes have been hit by gunfire in past shootings.

  • JuiceJeasel

    Banks or blacks?

  • sue

    John Holland, please give it a rest. If the need to do comedy is a strong desire of yours perhaps an open mic night might give you the attention you think you deserve.

  • sue

    John Holland, Forgive my snotty reply earlier. My point was this is not a subject where comedy is really appropriate. You just pushed a button with your snide remarks.

  • Reuben Hawkins

    They will be ID’ed, arrested and convicted without blanket surveillance. Our prisons are overcrowded. People are obviously being caught and put away.

  • John Holland

    Comedy? Should we be concerned about businesses that attract shootings or not?

    If that’s the criteria for closure, than let’s close it.

    Or, maybe that’s just crazy talk.

  • TN

    This particular area is blanketed by private video surveillance cameras owned by the tenants and landlords of the surrounding buildings. I’m sure that something was “caught on tape” unless all the systems were in disrepair.

  • bgal4

    The shooting was between two moving vehicles. The location of the shooting was where the casings were found. The bank is irrelevant.

    but you already knew that as a college educated Berkeleyan.

  • y_p_w

    It’s not a bank.

    That’s a Wells Fargo business office without regular banking services.

  • Tizzielish

    There are quite a lot of video camera ‘surveying’ public space already. Video cameras don’t provide anywhere near the security people like to think they do.

    IF I were going to commit crime regular, I would think. And, as far as I can tell, most people who are, more or less, career criminals, think about their criminal work like the rest of us think about our work work. Criminals know about security cameras so they go far from where they live and are known to commit crimes, thereby greatly reducing the likelihood that victims in the crime area will be able to identify them.

    Criminals have entered my downtown Berkeley apartment building, which has lots of video surveillance and the criminals commit crimes right in front of the camers, walking out with stolen property. The management distributes photos of the criminals taking off with our lobby carpets, our community room large screen TV, etc. but no one recognizes them, or, at least, no one identifies them.

    Makes sense to me: If I live in downtown Berkeley, where I am known, I’d go far away to commit crimes then, even with video, who’s going to ID me?

    There are videos on all buses and trains now — that doesn’t seem to deter bus and street crime. Just recently, Berkeley police distributed a bus photo of a guy who robbed someoneo on the street and then left by bus. I suspect that if someone had come forward and ID’s the guy, news sites would have informed us.

    Video cameras don’t help as much as people think.

    Pgmatic: video camers do NOT deter criminals. Maybe they keep honest people honest but a professional criminal chooses where he or she will commit their crimes under video camera and go where no one is likely to ID them.

    Video cameras help. If someone does an armed robbery in a store and is captured on camera and then captured by police, that video is going to help convict but video surveillance does not deter a whole lot of crime. I am speaking declaratively but I am really just speculating, based on personal observation.

    In my building, they distribute photos of criminals who enter our building and commit crimes but no one ever ID’s them and obviously the criminals feel comfortable with the video.

    Video is not a real answer to crime.

  • Tizzielish

    Our prisons are overcrowded because in the Reagan years, Repugnuts began to push for long prison terms, and to prosecute as felonies many crimes that used to be prosecuted as misdemeanors. Our prisons are not crowded because people are being caught and put away in large numbers NOW: our prisons are crowded from decades of prosecuting for fairly minor crimes and judges forced to give criminals lilfe sentences after three convictions — not because of current crime detection.

    There are men sentenced to life in prison whose ‘third strike’ involved stealing $60 worth of stuff.

    Prison overcrowding is more about our insane criminal policies than zealous policing and prosecution. Know the facts, Reuben.

  • Tizzielish

    This comment seems racist.

  • Tizzielish

    I read about one guy whose third strike was eating a donut in a deli — it is because of this kind of policy insanity that our prisons are overcrowded, not a current, zealous pursuit of criminals.

  • Reuben Hawkins

    Boring and don’t care. We don’t need a blanket of surveillance cameras, we don’t need a police state and we don’t need a nanny state.

  • Truth Sayer

    John! Your comments are a bit troubling. “Shootings at banks are not uncommon?” Last I heard, bank robbers and like minded cohorts are not shooting at banks as before. It really is is uncommon because of the stiff penalty. I suggest that you stop watching westerns for a while. “Banks operate with huge amounts of cash?” You betcha they do, thats why we call them banks. “it’s obvious that not all of the customers are legitimate.” The definition of a illegitimate customer can be called a bank robber or embezzler. But hoodlum will also suffice. Finally, banks are not dangerous, its the robbers who are dangerous. Thats why banks have security. I have yet to be attacked by a bank, much less a bank teller.

  • Truth Sayer

    Hey JuiceJerasel what ever happen to your “loving prayers and southing thoughts” and “Tender prayers and loving thoughts? Are you off your meds again?

  • Truth Sayer

    John, John! Based on your original statement, banks attract shooting. and you say “If that’s the criteria for closure, than let’s close it?” Yes that is “just crazy talk.”

  • Truth Sayer

    Well stated. I have no sympathy for criminals who harm others. But to put someone in prison for life for theft, drugs, and non-violent offenses does not make any sense. One guy was sent to prison for life on his third strike for breaking into a parking meter! His prior crimes involved procession of stolen goods, stealing metal from a demolition site, and multiple shop lifting.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Truth Sayer, I don’t know if you get the joke, because you haven’t been here long enough to know what John’s interest is.

    John is making fun of people who say that marijuana dispensaries should be closed because “shootings are not uncommon” at them. He really means that we should not close marijuana dispensaries for this reason, any more than we should close banks for this reason.

    I am not saying that I agree with his point of view. I just wanted to make clear what he means.

    By the way, here is an article in today’s Chronicle that I am sure John is interested in, since it finally identifies the ideal site for his favorite sport: http://blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider/2013/06/12/miniature-golf-looks-to-go-into-long-vacant-mission-district-mortuary/

  • Truth Sayer

    Thank you. I now have a better understanding of John’s intention. Reviewing his comments in conjunction with others, I do understand. Thanks to you and John.

  • guest

    He’s not even making fun of them, he’s just harassing Laura.

  • Guestorious

    are you really so stupid you believe this?

  • Anon

    They wanted to give Aaron Swartz 50 years. Meanwhile rapists, murderers, and robbers get off easy.

  • Tizzielish

    I am an attorney. I also have two MS degrees. My IQ has tested in the 180′s repeatedly. There is nothing stupid about me but comment reveals you are discourteous and stupid.

    It is a fact that one guy got sentenced for his third strike, which yielded sentence of life in prison and his third crime was eating a donut in a deli.

  • Tizzielish

    And a case of a guy whose third strike was shoplifting $60 worth of videos from a Walmart that got him life in prison has been widely reported — not me being stupid, me intelligently citing actual court-record facts.

  • Truth Sayer

    Please not that I fully agree with you. I did say or imply anything differently than what you stated. Were you afforesting me?