Update: 2 Berkeley High students injured, 3 arrested after fights downtown

Paramedics tended to one victim Thursday after what authorities said was a fight downtown. Photo: Nathan Slavik
Paramedics tended to one victim Thursday after what authorities said was a fight downtown. Photo: Nathan Slavik

Update, Jan. 24, 8:45 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department said the two arrests referenced by Principal Glenchur were for incidents that happened Friday: A 15-year-old was arrested on suspicion of possession of a BB gun on the school campus; and a 14-year-old was arrested on suspicion of being a non-student who refused to leave, and reentered campus. Both were Berkeley residents, according to Police Lt. Jennifer Louis. Berkeleyside will request additional information from the Berkeley Unified School District, which has not responded to a request made Friday regarding those arrests, as well as the police department.

Update, Jan. 23, 4:36 p.m. School Principal Kristin Glenchur sent a statement to the school community at 4:23 p.m. reporting that police have made two additional arrests in connection with Thursday’s fights, “and additional administrative consequences are being considered.”

Glenchur wrote that Friday was a normal day for Berkeley High: “Dismissal was quiet today. We had 3,000 students completing finals without incident. The campus was fully functional, and I’m very happy with the efforts of our staff and the support we received from our district and community partners.”

Berkeleyside asked the Berkeley Police Department earlier on Friday about the additional arrests, but no information has thus far been provided.


Update, Jan. 22, 6:41 p.m. Police arrested a 15-year-old boy in the 2100 block of Milvia Street following the 2:15 p.m. fight downtown, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats by email at 6:35 p.m. His city of residence was not immediately available, but he was arrested on suspicion of battery.

Police received several reports at about 2:15 p.m. regarding a large fight downtown, in the 2200 block of Shattuck Avenue. Callers said the fight involved about 20 students from Berkeley High.

According to Berkeley High’s interim principal, Kristin Glenchur, it was the second fight of the afternoon. A gun was reportedly seen during the first incident. The school district said one Berkeley High student was arrested, as a result of the fights, and others were removed from campus “pending further investigation.” (Scroll down for additional details from Glenchur.)

Officers who responded to the 2:15 p.m. incident found several fights occurring in the street, Coats said Thursday evening. Additional officers responded to assist. Police found one person down in the street, with non-life-threatening injuries, and Berkeley paramedics responded to take that person to a local hospital.

Coats said police “will work closely with Berkeley Unified School District to keep them apprised of this matter.”


Update, 4:45 p.m. There were two fights near Berkeley High School on Thursday afternoon that involved hundreds of students, and included one person who may have had a firearm, according to Berkeley High interim Principal Kristin Glenchur.

Glenchur released the following statement late Thursday afternoon. According to that message, the first fight took place at about 1 p.m. outside Berkeley High, and involved hundreds of students. One adult saw a person with a gun during that incident, Glenchur wrote. About an hour later, at 2:15 p.m., another fight broke out in front of the Verizon store on Shattuck Avenue. Glenchur said it was unknown whether the incidents were related.

Two Berkeley High School students were injured during the second fight, which stopped traffic and drew a large police response. One was released to his family and the other was taken to the hospital, according to Glenchur. One Berkeley High student has been arrested, and students involved with the first fight were removed from campus “pending further investigation.”

The investigation is continuing. Glenchur’s 4 p.m. statement, which was provided to Berkeleyside shortly before 4:30 p.m., appears below in full.

Dear BHS Community:


In the interest of providing clear and transparent communications, we are writing to inform you of two off-campus fights which drew very large crowds after school today. The first fight occurred at about 1:05 in front of the school on Milvia and Kittredge. Approximately 200 students gathered to observe what appeared to be a conflict between a group of BHS students and several non-students.

BHS staff and officers from the Berkeley Police Department responded quickly and dispersed the crowd. Of serious and significant concern is the fact that an adult witness claims to have seen what they believed to be a firearm shortly before staff and BPD intervened.

At present, BHS students connected to the incident have been removed from campus pending further investigation.

Approximately an hour later at 2:15, another fight involving approximately ten students broke out in front of the Verizon store on Shattuck. It is not clear whether the two fights were related. The incident stopped traffic and a large number of patrol cars responded. At this time, we have two reported victims of the fight, both Berkeley High students; one was released to his family and the other was injured and transported to the hospital. 

At this time, one Berkeley High student has been arrested. BPD and BHS staff continues to investigate. 

As of this writing we see no immediate impact on normal school operations for tomorrow. BPD will provide additional police presence near campus at dismissal and through the evening. We will provide additional details to our families and community where it is relevant and appropriate to do so. 

Please advise your students to move away from gathering crowds.  When students run toward a fight it adds fuel to an already very heated situation, makes it difficult to identify the parties who are directly involved, and risks additional injury to innocent people.  This will also allow safety staff to do their job. 

Sincerely,

Kristin Glenchur

Update, 4:15 p.m. Two Berkeley High students were taken to the hospital with injuries after a fight broke out around Thursday afternoon, according to Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Mark Coplan. The fight was the second of two incidents in downtown Berkeley, which also saw at least one Berkeley High School student arrested. At around 1 p.m., hundreds of people, many who were not believed to be Berkeley High students, swarmed areas of downtown, Coplan said. He added that Berkeley High acting principal Kristin Glenchur would be sending out an email to the school community today explaining what happened. (The prior paragraph was updated after the school principal released new information to Berkeleyside at 4:30 p.m.)

Original story, 3:27 p.m. Dozens of teenagers fighting in downtown Berkeley shortly after 2 p.m. drew a large police response, sent at least one person to the hospital, and resulted in the detention of at least one juvenile male, according to both confirmed and unconfirmed reports.

Berkeleyside has requested information from the police and fire departments to learn more, but did receive a brief email response from police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats about what took place: “We did respond to a fight in the 2200 block of Shattuck. A victim has been transported. Once I have more will let you know.”

The investigation is still underway.

According to Berkeleyside freelance reporter Natalie Orenstein, who was downtown at the time of the fight, it involved 20-30 teenagers who were “yelling ‘fight! fight’ at Shattuck and Allston, moving into/off of/around the street.… At one point someone was kicking another guy who was lying in the middle of the intersection. A car nearly hit them but swerved. A couple Ambassadors seemed to try break it up, but not aggressively or successfully. About 7 cop cars showed up about five minutes after it started and most people scrambled as soon as they heard sirens. There were still PD cars here until a minute ago,” she wrote as of 3 p.m.

Berkeley High School students are in the midst of finals, meaning they are released from school at 12:40 p.m. to allow them extra time to prepare for upcoming exams.

Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Mark Coplan said he is on the way to the Berkeley High School campus and will report back if he is able to learn more about what took place.

A Berkeley Police lieutenant asked officers over the scanner to step up foot patrols in the area, until 3 p.m., after the fight.

According to scanner traffic, officers detained at least one juvenile male in connection with the incident.

Officers speaking over the scanner said there were numerous people who had been punched during the melee. At least one of them told police he or she had been punched from behind.

Berkeleyside updated this story as more information became available. Berkeleyside editor Tracey Taylor contributed to this story.

Related:
BUSD superintendent: ‘We have much more work to do’ (11.06.14)
Op-ed: Admin, students share blame for BHS Rally Day mob (10.29.14)
BHS staffer injured, 15 students suspended, due to 500-strong student mob involving bullying, drinking (10.27.14)
Update: Rowdy high schoolers disrupt Berkeley downtown (05.09.14)

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