Police make hammer attack arrest at South Berkeley homeless camp

Police were called to a South Berkeley homeless camp Thursday for an assault. Image: Google Maps

A man who hit someone Thursday with a hammer, and chased another person while brandishing it — at the South Berkeley homeless camp where a woman was found dead in a tent last week — has been arrested, police say.

The Berkeley police got a report just after 1:40 p.m. Thursday about an argument at an encampment at 63rd Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, said Lt. Kevin Schofield, a department spokesman. The homeless camp is on the east side of the BART tracks, east of Adeline Street and south of Alcatraz Avenue.

Schofield said police were told a man was chasing people with a hammer, so officers responded and detained the individuals involved.

A homeless man identified as 31-year-old Peter Nobles was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a weapon and battery, he said.


Police found two victims: one person who had been struck with a hammer and received a minor injury to the hand, and another person who had been threatened with the hammer but was not actually hit.

All three people live at the encampment, Schofield said.

South Berkeley Councilman Ben Bartlett visited the camp last week after a woman’s body was found there. At the time, he estimated there were perhaps a dozen tents in the camp, and said many of the people staying there are new to Berkeley. He said, in prior remarks to Berkeleyside, that the camp was “like a shooting gallery,” and that it needs to be cleaned up.