Crime

Gang members arrested after hurling bottles at police

West Side Berkeley, or WSB, gang graffiti appears in a variety of places on the west side of town. This was spotted in January on Sixth Street north of Allston Way. Photo: Emilie Raguso

West Side Berkeley, or WSB, gang graffiti appears in a variety of places on the west side of town. This was spotted in January on Sixth Street north of Allston Way. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Berkeley Police officers arrested two men after they allegedly hurled glass bottles at a police officer and shouted insults at him Friday night, authorities said.

Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Frankel said an officer who parked near Strawberry Creek Park on Friday Feb. 21 at 9:50 p.m. heard loud voices coming from the basketball courts and went to check it out.

The officer parked near 1326 Allston Way, at the Berkeley Corporation Yard, and saw two men walking south on the basketball courts while looking toward him, said Frankel, via email.

The men then threw glass bottles over a fence at the officer and shouted “F*ck the police!” Frankel said. The bottles landed 15-20 feet from where the officer was standing.

In response, other officers came to the scene to help detain the men, but police were unable to catch them at that time.

About an hour later, another Berkeley officer, at Cedar Rose Park, spotted two men matching the description from the earlier incident. He detained them, and the officer from the earlier incident identified the men as the ones who had thrown the bottles and yelled at him.

Police identified the men as known West Side Berkeley gang members, said Frankel.

West Side Berkeley gang members have been described by police as a Latino gang affiliated with the larger prison gang known as the Norteños. Highly visible graffiti on the west side of town reminds residents of the gang’s existence. Drive-by shootings and even murder have been tied in the past to members of its crew. In 2010, police said one member of the gang killed a Richmond man in Berkeley at Allston Way and Curtis Street. (Update, 1:45 p.m. Via police, that suspect has not been arrested: “The case is still actively being investigated and detectives follow every possible lead as they develop.”)

Friday night, Ricardo Locheo Chavez, 18, and Enrique Rodriguez, 20, were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and participating in a criminal street gang in connection with the bottle-throwing incident.

They are being held at the Berkeley Jail on bail of $130,000, and are scheduled for arraignment Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.

Related:
Shots fired early Saturday near West Berkeley park (11.02.13)
Berkeley home hotbed of crime and nuisance for decades (02.27.12)

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  • guest

    Thank you BPD for all the work you do to make our community safer!

  • Woolsey

    Are these products of Berkeley public schools where anti-social actions in class have no consequences. Not good preparation for grown-up life.

  • guest1

    Good job BPD, what a thankless job.

    Are they working on toning things down at Berkeley High School. Riding the bus listening to these kids boast about the people they had beat down, the stuff they had stolen etc really got old.

    I first thought it was just the kids, but then had a chance to see some of the security guards at BHS (2 years ago now, this may have changed) – they did not inspire a lot of confidence!

    Please set a professional example folks!!

  • guest

    Can we see some mug shots of these local neighbors?

  • guest2

    My neighbor turned on to Bonar street near the park a few months ago and a man was standing in the middle of the street with a rifle (she quickly sped away). Sad that our neighborhood park is surrounded by such a violent population.

  • suckatash

    These are not products of Berkeley’s public schools. They are for the most part, fatherless children with dysfunctional adults in their lives. Blaming public schools for their shortcomings is a cute rhetorical trick to get us all to hate the last great institution that binds us all together as a society.

  • guest

    They’re not products of Berkeley schools? So what schools did these Berkeley residents go to, if not Berkeley schools?

  • guest

    That section of Bonar street has been a problem as long as those creepy low-income projects have been in the area.

  • EthnicAm

    I’m a Berkeley resident and I did not attend a Berkeley public school…

  • Truth Sayer

    Agree, we should not assume because gang members show up occasionally at Berkeley schools that they are a product of this institution of learning. Simply put, they chose to affiliate and follow the teaching of prison gangs rather than teachers in Berkeley schools. The saddest part is that people around the world would die for such an education. I am reminded of my fortunate education opportunities by the verses in Canterbury Tales.
    “Of study took he utmost care and heed.
    Not one word spoke he more than was his need,
    And that was said in fullest reverence,
    And short and quick and full of high good sense.
    Pregnant of moral virtue was his speech,
    And gladly would he learn and gladly teach.”

  • http://www.caviarcommunism.com/ West Bezerkeley

    Thank you for the straight talk on this gang Emilie. I remember when a Latina that used to be employed in the city managers office tried to tell all of us in neighborhood watch that the Norteños in WB were harmless teens that weren’t contributing to crime. Of course I knew differently by having back channel conversations with patrol officers.

    In fact, a WSB member was arrested across from my house last year and remains in jail for violating parole by committing 7 felonies, one of which was for a possessing a loaded semi-automatic handgun he had on his person and tried to hide on top of the tire of his car when DTF followed him into his apt parking lot. These are not harmless misguided “kids.” They are criminals.

    Thanks to Darryl Moore, ex-BPD Chief Hambleton was forced to admit officially in Council chambers that Berkeley does have gangs, but even then he tried to downplay the issue. Nonetheless, it signified progress. Further progress is needed in speaking with the public in a consistently honest manner about the gang problem we have in West and South Berkeley.

    The WSB/Noteños are one gang we deal with down here. The other commonly seen is H2O Waterfront. Both are bringing a wide variety of crime to Berkeley.

  • guest

    That hasn’t been my experience as a parent volunteer in my kids’ school over the past six years. I’ve been impressed at how generally respectful and well behaved the kids are. And I’ve been honestly surprised to see that our school’s principal is perfectly willing to hand down suspensions to elementary-school age children in the rare instances where there is a discipline problem. I don’t think it was possible to get suspended from my grade school 30 years ago.

  • Chris J

    I believe the succotash fellow was implying that blaming Berkeley public schools for the young miscreants behavior is misplaced and that the greater responsibility of the young tough’s behavior lay, if not with himself, but his family upbringing which was dysfunctional.

    Does that help, ‘guest’?

  • Chris J

    Canterbury tales reference. Wow.

  • Chris J

    Right across the street from us. People shouldn’t be allowed to have low income homes. No, wait…it’s not low income housing that’s the problem–

  • suckatash

    I second this thank you to Emile. As a 14 year resident of the westside, it’s a relief to see this in print.

  • suckatash

    I hope she called it in. BPD needs the info and we need BPD to stay present on this.

  • Just Sayin

    Some of the apartment buildings are currently for sale:

    http://www.redfin.com/CA/Berkeley/2223-Bonar-St-94702/home/1120508

  • Just Sayin

    Also – curious if the owner has done anything he said he would:

    “Cliff Johnson, the owner of two buildings in the 2000 block of Bonar
    Street, outside of which three men were shot at on March 2, is taking
    action now. He said he was doing whatever the police were recommending,
    which includes installing motorized gates and screen doors and hiring an
    off-site firm to monitor footage from existing security cameras.”

    From here:

    http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/03/21/berkeley-residents-address-safety-issues-after-local-shootings/

  • guest

    Part of the point is that for all the money Berkeley spends in the community and through our schools on “intervention” and “2020 vision” absolutely none of it appears to be working.

  • guest

    People shouldn’t be allowed to have low-income, subsidized housing if they allow criminals and thugs to loiter and hide out on their property.

  • Doug F

    It’s good that hoods are so dumb. It makes them so much easier to identify & catch.

  • Truth Sayer

    Spot on. Incidently, I used Cantery Tales because it describes the love of learning from a poor student’s perspective.

  • Mel Content

    BPD and City Officials have long publicly denied that there are active gangs in Berkeley.

    I gather all those oh-so-enlightened and overeducated protectors of the public have no idea what that “X4″ means in the graffiti that’s all over town. Anyone living in the barrio or ‘da hood who is half paying attention learns to decipher gang graffiti quickly…

  • tenjen

    Oh, please. Blame the schools, and not the society and families these kids grew up in? Spare me.

  • emraguso

    If you’ve been seeing any improvement at Strawberry Creek Park, here’s why:
    http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/04/18/gang-violence-drug-use-graffiti-spark-renewed-push-to-clean-up-west-berkeley-park

    But, if not, we hope you’ll let us know.

  • FuckBPD

    WSB will never end all the police n community meetings won’t help.CANT STOP WONT STOP WILL NOT BE STOPED get over it people it’s norte gang