Update: Police issue ‘all clear’ after hunt for armed robber

Police officers guard a post during a search for an armed robbery suspect in the Unit 1 dorms at the University of California, in Berkeley, on Wednesday. Photo: David Yee

Update, 7 p.m. UCPD said it sent four Nixle alerts by text earlier to the campus community, though they have not been posted publicly on the Nixle website or elsewhere.

In the first one, at 4:42 p.m., UCPD said it was “conducting a search” around Unit 1 for an “armed robbery suspect. Residents should shelter in place or stay away.”

In the second, police described the man as Hispanic, 20-30 years old, 5 foot 5 to 5 foot 7, with a medium build, dark hair in a buzzcut, and carrying a dark backpack. He was possibly wearing a striped shirt and said to be armed with a gun.

Police said next they were checking the area around Bowditch, Durant, College and Channing Way, and advised people to “shelter in place or stay away from the area.”


At 6:12 p.m., UCPD issued an “all clear” alert after searching the area. No arrests have been reported. The UC Berkeley representative handling media requests has not responded to requests for information.

UCPD Chief Margo Bennett provided the Nixle information to Berkeleyside upon request.

Berkeleyside will follow up with the university to determine why those alerts were not posted on the Nixle website, or made available to the broader public.

Original story, 6:26 p.m. A police search is underway after several calls for help from UC Berkeley’s Unit 1 residence hall, one of which involved a man who punched a student and threatened to shoot him before taking his cellphone, according to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside.

UC Berkeley’s Unit 1 residence hall is made up of Cheney, Deutsch, Freeborn and Putnam Halls. Photo: Google Maps

Neither UCPD nor BPD has responded to a request for information.


Berkeleyside reviewed audio recordings of scanner traffic to collect preliminary unconfirmed information. This story will be updated if additional information becomes available from either agency.

One reader told Berkeleyside she saw five police cars “racing up” Durant shortly after 4 p.m. According to another community report shortly before 6 p.m., police were still searching the area near 2650 Durant Ave. after several reports around 4 p.m. involving suspicious or criminal activity.

In one of those cases, according to the scanner recordings, a man who said he had a gun forced a student into a stairwell in Cheney Hall, and ordered him to get on his knees if he did not want to be shot. The suspect reportedly punched the student in the face and took his phone, though he later threw it back when he fled, according to the scanner report.

Another caller reported someone with a similar description searching lockers in Unit 1, which is made up of Cheney, Deutsch, Freeborn and Putnam Halls.

There was another call as well, but no details were immediately available.


Police described the man over the scanner as Hispanic, in his 20s or 20s, with a scruffy beard. He may have been wearing a white sweatshirt with blue stripes on it over a dark shirt. He reportedly had a buzzcut and may have been carrying a dark-colored backpack, according to scanner traffic.

UCPD indicated it would send out a Nixle alert, as well as an alert using its Warn Me system, but none has so far been posted publicly.

Police said they planned to do a systematic search of the area following the reports.