Update: Man charged with attempted murder after South Berkeley shooting

Police collect evidence on Essex Street, at Shattuck, after a shooting left one person with serious injuries Wednesday morning. Photo: Natalie Orenstein

Update, June 15, 4:35 p.m. A Berkeley man has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a semi-automatic firearm in connection with the Essex Street shooting Wednesday, according to Berkeley Police.

Herman Little, 75, of Berkeley, is in custody, said to Lt. Dan Montgomery in an email.

The victim, a 39-year-old man who was sent to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, is now “in stable condition and expected to survive,” wrote Montgomery.

He said a suspicious item discovered at the crime scene Wednesday was not a pipe bomb, as police had initially thought it might be. Neighbors were asked to shelter in place that afternoon while police investigated.

Update, June 14: Berkeley Police released more details of Wednesday’s shooting and the department’s response to it. The victim, they said in a community message issued Wednesday evening, was in danger of losing his life, with a “sucking chest wound,” which prevents proper breathing. BPD also stressed how helpful specialized training in tactical and medical skills officers received through the Urban Shield program, as well as the use of a new armored vehicle, had been in handling the incident. Read the full script of the message.

Update, 2:45 p.m. Berkeley Police have arrested a suspect after one person was shot and seriously injured in South Berkeley on Wednesday morning. BPD’s Sgt. Chris Stines spoke to Berkeleyside at the scene, on the 2100 block of Essex Street, at Shattuck. He said a suspect was in custody. The arrest was made sometime around 1:30 p.m., he said.

Neighbors told Berkeleyside they saw a man who they said was their long-time neighbor being arrested in his home. Unconfirmed reports from several people in the area suggest that the shooting victim knew the suspect and went to the CBCB dispensary after being shot to seek help.

Police are still on scene and were collecting evidence, but the block was re-opened to traffic and pedestrians at 2:40 p.m. (Update: About 15 minutes later, BPD closed down the block again to investigate a suspicious object that was being referred to on the scene as a possible pipe bomb.)

Police put caution tape up in the morning around two homes on the block, and around the westernmost quarter of the block, at Shattuck Avenue, including the parking lot of the CBCB marijuana dispensary at 3033 Shattuck. Stines said he had no reason to believe there was a connection between the shooting and the business. A number of people lingered outside the dispensary Wednesday afternoon, some waiting for it to open.

Lorrin Webb said she moved into the block “literally two days ago” from out of state, and was waiting to be let back into her house. “I thought and heard it was a really safe neighborhood,” she told Berkeleyside. Webb was working at a café when she heard someone was shot on her street. “I hope everyone’s OK,” she said.

Map showing the block that was closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic Wednesday before noon. Image: BPD

Original story: A person was shot in South Berkeley and has “serious injuries,” according to Berkeley Police who are on scene around the 2100 bock of Essex Street, at Shattuck Avenue, searching for an armed suspect.

Officers have closed the area bounded by Prince Street, Shattuck, Emerson Street and Wheeler Street, according to a Nixle alert put out by BPD shortly before noon.

Officer Byron White of BPD told Berkeleyside that at around 11:30 a.m. police got a call about “a person screaming in the street in the 2100 block of Essex Street.”

“We discovered a victim with some serious injuries,” he said. “He had been shot.” White said the victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment and their condition was unknown.

BPD deployed on-duty personnel from its special-response team to search the area for the suspect, White said, and, as part of that deployment, they brought in the department’s new tactical van.

The investigation is ongoing, and BPD’s homicide detectives were on scene, said White. The suspect, believed to be armed, was still at large around 12:45 p.m.

Some neighbors noted that police put caution tape around the Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley, at 3033 Shattuck Ave. Around noon employees at the cannabis dispensary told Berkeleyside they didn’t have information about what had happened.

“We are still trying to figure out what’s going on too,” said Greg Brizendine, a CBCB security guard.

Police arrested a suspect after a shooting in the 2100 block of Essex Street, at Shattuck, left one person with serious injuries on June 13, 2018. Photo: Natalie Orenstein

First reports of police activity appeared on Twitter around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Aaron Glimme posted that he saw more than 10 police cars “blaring down MLK.”

At 11:45 a.m. Susan Gardner posted: “Lots of police on corner of Essex and Shattuck. Everyone told by cops to go back inside.”

In the Nixle alert, police ask that people avoid the area.

This developing story is being regularly updated.