Man arrested after attempted Berkeley homicide with baseball bat following Cal frat house fight

Image: Google maps

Image: Google maps

Police arrested a 23-year-old Oakland man over the weekend in Berkeley after he reportedly struck two males over the head with a baseball bat, causing what authorities described as “significant injuries.”

Sunday, at 1:25 a.m., the Berkeley Police Department responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon in the 2700 block of Durant Avenue, near College Avenue, just south of the UC Berkeley campus.

Witnesses reported two groups of people in a verbal argument in the rear parking lot of a fraternity, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, in response to a request from Berkeleyside.

Witnesses told police that punches were thrown between members of the groups, and that the verbal argument then continued.

At that point, a vehicle pulled up to the area and parked. One of the groups walked toward the vehicle and continued to yell at the other group, Coats said via email.

A man later identified as Frank Paul Watson “grabbed a baseball bat from the trunk of the vehicle,” Coats said, “then approached the first victim and without warning struck him over the head. The suspect then approached the second victim and again without warning, struck him over the head, causing significant injuries to both victims.”

The man identified as Watson ran back to the vehicle and got inside. The vehicle fled on Durant Avenue and turned right on Piedmont Avenue, heading south.

Authorities broadcast the suspect and vehicle description over the radio, and a Berkeley Police officer spotted the vehicle near Warring and Parker streets, Coats said.

The officer tried to stop the vehicle, and the occupants tried to run from the scene. Police were able to detain Watson at the stop location, said Coats.

After their investigation, police arrested Watson on suspicion of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon and probation violation.

The Berkeley Fire Department transported both victims to a local hospital for medical care, but no additional information was available about their condition due to privacy laws.

Watson is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday, April 29, at 2 p.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland. He is being held without bail at the Berkeley Jail.

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  • bgal4

    what brought this Frank Watson to frat row? is he in the habit of going up there to start trouble, is race and class differences a motivating factor?

  • Guest

    The frats have always attracted violence and trouble. You can’t blame Oakland. Blame raging cases Affluenza.

  • probusybody

    I blame alcohol and sleeplessness. Nothing good comes from being on the street at 1:30 AM.

  • suckatash

    It’s still a deadly weapon and he will be charged as such.

  • notnot2

    Sarcasm? Someone beaten to death with a baseball bat is just as dead as someone shot fatally with a gun.

  • Doug F

    Yes, I can blame Oakland. That homicide (by shooting) just a few years ago was by an Oakland hood who’d come to frat row, looking for some party action. He had a record, just like this suspect does (what was he on probation for?).

  • emraguso

    Looks like it was weapons-related, from what was posted via the sheriff’s department: something about a switchblade knife and being in possession of a concealed firearm, in addition to some other counts.

  • preferrous

    If I’m going to be killed, I think I’d rather have the bullet than the bat.

  • amc


  • batardo

    We should ban Assault Bats .. DiFi where are you when we need you!

  • Patty

    So, AMC, what happened?

  • guest

    If I’m not going to be killed, I think I’d rather have the bullet than the bat.

    Flesh wound vs. blunt force trauma.

  • really?

    You “can’t blame” Watson for his actions? Really? So when someone purposely assaults you lets see if you are so cavalier about holding them accountable.

  • Doug F

    How do you know? Were you there? If you were, the police, DA & public defender would love to hear your version of events. If not, your friends, acquaintances or relatives are probably lying to you.

    If you actually are being unjustifiably assaulted by a group & a friend’s car pulls up, you jump into the car & leave. You don’t grab a baseball bat from the trunk & return to the group…unless you’re a hood who wants a fight. Even if you do that (to defend a friend who’s still there & losing, say), the defensive move with a baseball bat is hitting their arms away, not the homicidal action of hitting 2 different people over the head. Police are banned from doing that with their (shorter & lighter) batons specifically so they don’t kill people, accidentally or on purpose.

  • CAL mother

    One of the injured boys, and my friend’s son, is in the ICU with a brain injury. I hope AMC’s friend is convicted and spends his life in jail. There is no justification for this type of assault. College students should feel safe at school and not threatened by gang members from another town. What was Watson doing in that neighborhood anyway?

  • Grace

    This incident was definitly not the Frat boys faults. Watson purposefully chose to pick up that bat and hit those two boys. Watson wasn’t defending himself he wanted to hurt them and win a fight. You cant blame two college students for getting themselves hit in the head with a baseball bat when they were simply trying to defend their home.

  • Hunk of Love

    Throw them all in jail
    and melt down the key. Good riddance. And I’m an extremely progressive liberal
    willing to cut virtually anyone a break except criminal pond scum that is
    intent on spending their lives in prison for stupid, pointless violence. I’ll
    be watching the trial(s) and conviction with great interest and probably will
    write the judge a letter insisting no leniency whatsoever.

  • Larry

    how do you know if he was a gang member or not?

  • emraguso

    Here’s the update. Watson has entered “no contest” pleas to assault with a deadly weapon: