Update, Sept. 6, 11:20 a.m. The man police arrested has been identified as 56-year-old Vincent Turner. He was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, being a felon in possession of a firearm, having a firearm at a school, and several other violations. Turner is being held on $265,000 bail at Berkeley Jail, and was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office.
Update, 5:25 p.m. Longfellow Principal Marcos Garcia sent the following message to families just after 5:10: “This afternoon at about 3:30 pm Longfellow was placed on lock down for about 45 minutes due to police activity and safety concerns on Ward street. Longfellow staff implemented its emergency procedures smoothly and returned to normal programming at approximately 4:15. No students or staff were impacted and no school property was affected. Longfellow takes student safety very seriously and will be using this as an opportunity to review other after school protocols.”
Update, 4:54 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department has taken one person into custody after a report of a man with a gun near Sacramento and Ward streets shortly after 3:30 p.m., said Officer Jennifer Coats, a Berkeley polices spokeswoman.
Police were told the man had brandished the gun at someone. Officers “quickly arrived and established a perimeter,” Coats said, and were told the person may have gone into a nearby house. Police did take someone into custody, she said, but no further information was provided.
Sacramento Street was closed between Derby and Stuart streets during the police response. Coats said Longfellow was on lockdown briefly because it was so close to the initial report.
“BPD was in constant contact with school officials,” Coats said. “The lockdown was lifted and the roadways are now open.”
Original story, 4:31 p.m. Numerous readers have reported significant police activity in South Berkeley around Longfellow Middle School beginning around 3:45 p.m. The school was on lockdown as of about 3:50 p.m., according to unconfirmed information from the police scanner.
Berkeleyside has called the Berkeley Police Department numerous times and is waiting to hear back.
Readers reported the sound of many sirens as police flooded into the area around the school.
“Maybe a dozen squad cars, traffic being diverted off Sacramento,” said one local resident. Sacramento Street may be closed between Ward and Oregon streets, another said.
One tipster said there was a report of a man with a gun, but that is unconfirmed. This story will be updated as soon as BPD responds.
Berkeleyside has also asked the Berkeley Unified School District for information and is waiting for a response.