Man charged with South Berkeley shooting is landlord of victim

An Essex Street landlord is facing felony charges connected to the shooting of his tenant. Photo: Natalie Orenstein

A man charged with an attempted murder in South Berkeley last week is the landlord of the person who was shot, according to court documents.

In the records for the June 13 Essex Street incident, police said Herman Levi Little, 75, “shot his tenant multiple times at point blank range.”

The victim was hit twice, once on his right hand, and once on the side of his chest, causing what Berkeley police previously described as a “sucking chest wound.” The injuries were life-threatening, but the 39-year-old man was in stable condition by Friday, police said.

After he was shot, the victim ran into his apartment and locked the door, according to the court documents. “The suspect followed the victim inside by unlocking the door, shooting at him once more while he was chasing him,” the records said.


Police said they found multiple guns at the site of the shooting, along with a homemade silencer built out of PVC pipe.

The shooting shut down the 2100 block of Essex Street for a few hours while police searched the crime scene last Wednesday. There was caution tape encircling the parking lot of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley on the corner of Essex and Shattuck Avenue, and around two homes up the block.

Multiple people in the area said the victim went to the CBCB dispensary to seek help after he was shot. A security guard at CBCB said staff there assisted the victim. Some, in unconfirmed reports, said the man had been heard shouting something like, “My landlord just shot me.” Berkeley police would not confirm the relationship between Little and the victim last week. Little is listed as the owner of an Essex Street property in city records.

When Berkeley Police and Fire Department paramedics arrived, they attended to the victim and took him to a hospital.

“Officers determined the suspect was likely inside a nearby residence,” said police in a statement. “The suspect emerged from the property and was taken into custody without incident.”

Once the street was reopened to traffic Wednesday afternoon, neighbors hung around outside their homes across the street from the apartment where the shooting occurred. They said they were surprised to see Little arrested, describing him as a long-time presence on the block.

Neighbors said they had not heard a gunshot, apparently due to the silencer found at the site.


Little, whose occupation is listed as merchant marine, is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail. He is facing two felony charges: premeditated attempted murder and assault with a semi-automatic firearm.

His arraignment is set for Friday.