Gunshots in South Berkeley, 2 victims

Berkeley Police at the scene of a double shooting in South Berkeley on Wednesday. Photo: Charles Siler

Berkeley Police at the scene of a double shooting in South Berkeley on Wednesday. Photo: Charles Siler

Update, 6:17 p.m. A local resident, who asked not to be named due to safety concerns, said he heard about 10 gunshots just after 4:30 p.m.

He said gunshots in the neighborhood are “not normal,” but that lately more and more people have been congregating in the apartment complex at 1611 Russell St.

He said he believed there has been drug activity in the area, and that police are aware of the situation.

Berkeleyside will update this story if more information becomes available. 

Update, 6 p.m. One Berkeleyside reader who heard the initial disturbance, just after 4:30 p.m., said it sounded like “quite a large volley of gun shots, followed shortly by sirens. Then it sounded like all the kids in the school by our house were taken inside, and now there’s a 2nd and 3rd round of sirens.”

Another woman who was in the area wrote that she “loaded baby in stroller and rushed home.”

Malcolm X parent Steven Saunders said he tried to pick his child up from Malcolm X Elementary School just after 5 p.m., but the doors were locked. A teacher came outside and told him the school was on lockdown.

Berkeleyside is following up with the Berkeley Unified School District to learn more. Neither school answered the phone as of 6 p.m.

Berkeleyside interns Charles Siler and Drew Jaffe are reporting from the scene.

Update: 5:43 p.m. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats said one of the shooting victims is 21 years old, and the age of the other victim is unknown at this time.

The 1600 block of Russell Street and the 2800 block of California Street are closed, said Berkeleyside intern Charles Siler, reporting from the scene.

Police found one of the victims in the 1600 block of Russell, and the other in front of the South Berkeley YMCA Learning Academy, in the 2800 block of California.

The location of the shooting is three blocks south of Longfellow Elementary School, two blocks northwest of Malcolm X Elementary School and three blocks west of Grove Park.

Police are not releasing any suspect or vehicle information at this time.

Police on California Street on Wednesday night. Photo: Charles Siler

Police on California Street on Wednesday night. Photo: Drew Jaffe

Update, 5:23 p.m. According to unconfirmed scanner traffic, at least one caller reported hearing 12 gunshots in the 1600 block of Russell Street just after 4:30 p.m.

Authorities said there were two victims, who have been taken to the hospital.

According to scanner traffic, both victims were conscious when emergency responders arrived. One had been shot in the leg and the other had been shot “possibly” in the arm and hand.

Police said they had found shell casings, and were securing the block for their investigation, closing parts of Russell and California streets.

Update, 5:14 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department has sent out a Nixle alert about the shooting, asking people to avoid the area of California and Russell streets.

Police said roads would be closed for an undetermined amount of time.

Both gunshot victims were taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.

Image: Google maps

Image: Google maps

Original story, 5:06 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department is responding to South Berkeley where two people have been injured by gunfire, according to initial reports.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said police received multiple 911 calls just after 4:30 p.m. regarding possible gunfire near Russell and California streets.

Coats said she did not know the age of the victims.

“This is a fluid and active crime scene,” she said via email, adding that she was heading to the scene to learn more.

Berkeleyside readers reported hearing “rapid gun fire while playing at the tot park on Oregon and Grant” and “multiple police vehicles driving around the area.”

Berkeleyside will update this story as more information becomes available.

It’s the second double shooting in Berkeley since Saturday night.

Berkeleyside interns Charles Siler and Drew Jaffe reported from the scene.

Radio problems hamper Berkeley shooting investigation (06.09.14)
Update: 2 teens shot at West Berkeley hotel party (06.07.14)
Gang violence, drug use, graffiti spark renewed push to clean up West Berkeley park (04.18.14)
Berkeley Police on 3 recent shootings: ‘Responding to these incidents is our top priority’ (03.28.14)
Update: Police respond to shooting in West Berkeley (03.25.14)
Update: 2 teens shot on Harmon Street in Berkeley (03.24.14)
Berkeley Police investigate drive-by shooting on Harmon (03.24.14)
3 years after killing, Berkeley family still seeking justice (03.10.14)
Victim reports shooting in Berkeley, details scant (02.28.14)

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  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    Great, three blocks from Longfellow school!

  • Guest

    Wasn’t there a shooting right around there a few weeks ago?

  • Hush, you!

    Shh! Talking about South Berkeley’s crime problem is racist!

  • Peter Moore

    It’s also the intersection of two major bicycle routes.

  • hfidek

    dont worry joe the plumber is safe.

  • Sorry

    Get used to more of this, summer starts next Monday, and we are making it illegal for adolescents to get work at a market clearing wage.

  • jth
  • batardo

    Let’s call it a Lawfulness Gap instead. “Problems” stigmatize, but “gaps” only have victims.

    ROFL .. .

  • guest

    So 103 weeks ago is a few? I’m confused.

  • guest

    We get it, we get it. You’re closing your construction business because of Prius-driving, Mother Jones-reading Berkeley liberals who support a higher minimum wage and then turn around and hire unlicensed contractors instead of you, even though you hire troubled youth from the ghetto and pay them well so that they can learn valuable life skills (like showing up for work on time) that will enable them to get higher paying jobs some day.

    Guess what? Liberal hypocrites are everywhere, and they will always be with us. Meanwhile, not everyone who works at a minimum wage job is a troubled youth with zero soft skills. The vast majority are responsible adults with a work ethic who already know how to show up on time and follow instructions, and who are not likely to find higher-paying work any time soon, for any number of reasons. Why should their wages be kept artificially low as a subsidy for their employers?

    Also, do you really believe that a kid who’s attracted to the idea of joining a drug gang is going to say, “Gee, I could work 40-50 hours a week for ten bucks an hour instead, and BE SOME DUDE’S GOFER INSTEAD OF MAKING EASY MONEY AND SHOOTING A COOL GUN!!! F****IN’ A, MAN!!!!! COOL!!!!!!”

    Your business is not the only thing standing between disadvantaged young people and a life of crime. Anyone who would choose to change sawzall blades for you for whatever you pay could also get a union apprenticeship in a skilled trade, where they would learn the same soft skills, get just as good training, and be paid better, and have a health plan, and a retirement plan.

    It’s not all about you.

  • sjw

    I want to acknowledge the quick thinking and actions of the Malcolm X after school staff who heard the gunfire, herded the kids into the building, and shut down the school WITHOUT ANY CONTACT from BPD. We really need to improve communication between the schools, BUSD central administration, and BPD. After school programs run until 6 PM; program directors have cell phones, and someone form administration should be available by phone 24/7 to oversee this type of emergency. Why isn’t communication better? The last time the school was on lock down (during the school day) we could not get word from BPD about when to reopen the doors…turned out they notified the wrong school – the incident was near LeConte. This really discredits all the work schools do to prepare to keep kids safe in any type of emergency

  • ilovesouthberkeley

    Thank you Malcolm X after school staff! We love you! I would hope that BUSD has instructed all of it’s staff to sign up for both the Nixle alerts ( and the old BENS system ( in order to get emergency information quickly when needed. The sign up process should probably be written into contracts as a requirement for working for BUSD, and staff signed up automatically upon accepting employment, but if some variation of that is not possible, at least staff should be reminded frequently of the importance of doing this. Staff may live in other cities, so they should be instructed on how to sign up for both the Berkeley alerts, as well as the alerts from their city of residence, if they want those too. (just putting in their address will not get them Berkeley alerts if they live in other cities). Yesterday, there was a Nixle text message at 5:13pm from BP, instructing “Police activity in the area of California and Russell Streets. Avoid area.” This was about 40 minutes after the gun battle and long after the area was secured, so response time could clearly be improved, but perhaps if the police knew more people and BUSD school staff were signed up, they would have more motivation to send the alerts faster. I did not receive a message from BENS, so perhaps Nixle is the system to sign up for, would be good to hear from someone in the police department about all this. Thank you!

  • Sorry

    What are you even talking about? Construction business? Who do you think you are replying to?

  • BerkeleyCitizen

    OK so I signed up for both, but don’t see the utility. The Nixle system has no record or any alerts going out yesterday regarding this incident, so what it doesn’t appear that BPD is using this system in the intended way. As this screenshot shows, all it has is an announcement ubout Juneteenth and a few older announcements. There are alerts further down, but it seems to be used very inconsistently, which makes it less than a reliable tool.

  • CTD

    Selling drugs in a gang doesn’t actually pay that well for most participants:

    Also, where are these union apprenticeships? I would imagine they are rare.

  • ilovesouthberkeley

    Hmmm, maybe they only sent out to people registered to the immediate area? Can you add this to your list of questions Berkeleyside? I was close enough to hear the barrage of gunfire. I signed up for Nixle when I saw the article on Berkeleyside: in May, saying it was a new pilot. In settings, you can sign up for “Alerts/Advisory/Community”. I’ve gotten a few Amber Alerts since then. The text messages I got yesterday were labeled “Advisory.” At 5:13pm, I got:”The Berkeley Police Department is currently involved in a police activity in the are of California and Russell Streets. Please avoid this area. At approximately 4:33 p.m., BPD received multiple 911 calls for loud reports. There are two reported victim’s of gunshot wounds, who were transported to a local hospital. Currently BPD is on scene investigating the incident. There are road closures in the area. The roads will remain closed for an undetermined amount of time.” Then at 7:57pm: “Roadways now open, Police have cleared the scene of Russell and California Street. UPDATE: The roadways are now open. Police have cleared the scene. We
    appreciate the community’s assistance during this investigation.”. I could have used the first message a lot earlier, as I needed to navigate out of the area ( I thought the gunfire sounded like it was from Grove Park, so I was trying to avoid Grove Park, not California, and ended up driving right by the police barricades. There were a lot of people who had come to watch, but I was just trying to get past it and miscalculated.) I’m hoping that since Nixle is new to Berkeley, the police will eventually get better at putting out alerts more quickly. Certainly it seems better than no information, which seemed to be the situation previously.

  • bks3bks

    Everyplace in Berkeley is a few blocks from a school. –bks

  • Skippy

    Rare for a reason. To keep wages artificially high for those with the connection.

    And if you’ve ever spent any time with kids attracted to a drug gang, you’d know they’d nearly all have the self respect and opportunity that comes with a job and a path to prosperity. Of course, you don’t know that.

    [This comment has been moderated. -Eds.]

  • Guest

    Right, no correlation between idle youth, and crime. None. Whatsoever.

  • Shamashama

    There are so many things wrong with this comment, but perhaps the best place to start is your definition of the “vast majority” as it compares to actual statistics.

    As if that is not enough, what is artificial about a market set price, for anything? The only thing artificial in this thread is a government mandated price for something.

    Another excellent barrier to productive lives for disadvantaged youths is the welfare state, which reduces the probability that productive behavior is effecyively modeled by parents and other role models.

    It’s so not about me. It’s about a life based in truth and reality and confronting hard concepts with the moral clarity that can only be achieved by fully embracing the principle of non aggression.

    I live here. I’ve got 9 neighbors that are across the street or touch my property line. 9 of 9 are deviating from the law with their domestic hiring practices. If I extrapolate that across the cob, I come up with (hmmm… Let me do the math here) a pretty big number of people that aren’t playing by the rules.

    I’m sorry if this is an uncomfortable reality for people to deal with. Many realities are. And that is, in my opinion, why things are so screwed up with no resolution in sight.

  • Louis14

    I know one of the shooting victims and he is not a gang member or violent person.

  • Miles

    I also know the 18 YR Old victim he is a very respectful nice young man and is not involved in any gangs.
    Not all young man that get shot is involved in gangs some people just get caught at the wrong place at the wrong time