Author Archives: Emilie Raguso


Emeryville woman dies weeks after Berkeley stabbing

Nancy Jo McClellan. Photo: Courtesy of McClellan family and friends/BPD
Print Friendly

A 72-year-old woman who was stabbed in South Berkeley in September has died after nearly three weeks in medical care, according to authorities.

Nancy Jo McClellan of Emeryville died Wednesday at approximately 2:30 a.m., said Berkeley Police Capt. Andrew Greenwood.

McClellan remained in the ICU following the stabbing, and died in a Berkeley care facility where she had been transferred Tuesday, according to police. Over the weekend, her family had decided to take her off life support when she failed to recover from the attack, according to community members familiar with the case.

Police will now seek murder charges against Kamau Berlin, the 18-year-old Richmond man authorities say was responsible for McClellan’s death. It is the second homicide in Berkeley this year.

“Our investigators are in touch with the district attorney’s office,” Greenwood said Wednesday morning. “We will do what we need to do to get more charges.”

Berlin was arrested by police the day of the stabbing, Sept. 19. He has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with attempted murder. He is a Berkeley Unified School District student, according to BUSD spokesman Mark Coplan.

Police say Berlin tried to steal McClellan’s Honda, then stabbed her twice in the throat when the car wouldn’t start. The assault took place at approximately 4:30 p.m. at Otis and Russell streets, not far from the Ashby BART station.

McClellan was head gardener at the Berkeley Zen Center at 1929 Russell St., adjacent to where she was attacked. Sojun Mel Weitsman, who runs the center, said there had been a wedding and reception that day, which McClellan had attended. She was on her way home when the confrontation took place. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Berkeley police: Drug was used in Cal fraternity rape case

Delta Upsilon at UC Berkeley. Image: Google maps
Print Friendly

Update, Oct. 17: The case against Eugene Quillin has been dismissed, and he has been exonerated and found factually innocent.

Original story, Oct. 7: A 20-year-old UC Berkeley student has been charged with raping a woman at a Cal fraternity in late September who also had been drugged, according to authorities.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Eugene Franklin Quillin this week with rape by use of drugs, in that he “did unlawfully have and accomplish an act of sexual intercourse with a person … where said person was prevented by resisting by an intoxicating, anesthetic, and controlled substance.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

The lowdown: Berkeley council on racial discrimination, Parker Place, curbside EV charging grant, more

Parker Place permits: On council's action calendar for Tuesday night. Here, the view of what's proposed at 2600 Shattuck Ave. Image: LPAS Architecture + Design
Print Friendly

The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday, with a special session on race-related workforce issues at 5:30 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m.

The special session

Council will hear from a consultant hired last year to look at complaints regarding city practices related to race. A consultant who interviewed city employees about 20 complaints made recommendations for improvement earlier this year. Tuesday evening will be the first chance for council to have an in-depth public discussion about those findings. Council also will hear what the police department is doing to limit the possibility of racial profiling, and about additional resources the city has put into mental health outreach services. Read the report.

The action calendar

PARKER PLACE PLANS STALLED BY APPEAL The mixed-use housing and commercial complex planned for Shattuck Avenue and Parker Street — called Parker Place — is on council’s agenda Tuesday due to an appeal of a recent, unanimous zoning board decision to adjust the project’s permits. Staff says council should uphold the zoning board’s decision. Parker Place was first approved by council in January 2012, and sought to make some adjustments in August of this year after being acquired by Lennar Multifamily Communities and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management. Berkeleyside will have the full story later this week.Continue reading »

Tagged ,

Video: Police ask for help after random violent assault of 85-year-old in downtown Berkeley

Police are looking for a woman who shoved an 85-year-old to the ground and rushed off. Image: BPD
Print Friendly

Update, Oct. 14: Read Berkeleyside’s exclusive story about the alleged assailant’s arrest.

Original story, Oct. 7: Authorities are looking for a woman they say turned suddenly, without provocation, and violently shoved an 85-year-old pedestrian to the ground as she walked in downtown Berkeley in September.

The assault caused serious injuries, and the victim required treatment at the hospital. Authorities have released a video (below) that shows what took place.

According to police, the 85-year-old Oakland woman was walking with a relative on Shattuck Avenue near Allston Way on Sept. 23 just after 9:30 p.m. when a woman who had passed them rushed back at them, forcefully pushed the Oakland woman to the ground, and immediately walked away. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

Berkeley police make frat house arrest in rape case

Delta Upsilon at UC Berkeley. Image: Google maps
Print Friendly

Update, Oct. 17: The case against Eugene Quillin has been dismissed, and he has been exonerated and found factually innocent.

Original story, Oct. 3: Police have arrested a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student in connection with a sexual assault reported last weekend.

Berkeley police arrested Eugene Quillin on Thursday at UC Berkeley’s Delta Upsilon fraternity house at 2425 Warring St. after serving a search warrant there, authorities said. As of Friday afternoon, Quillin had been released on bail, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.

Thursday, the University of California Police Department sent out an email notice to report two instances of sexual assault at fraternities Saturday. Both had been reported to the Berkeley Police Department.

Berkeley police also received a report of a third sexual assault Saturday that “may have occurred in a fraternity,” according to UCPD. No further information on those incidents has been released.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Bites: Judoku, Daily Pint, Imm Thai, Mollie Rose, more

Bibimbap at Bowl'd, Emeryville. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

DRUNKEN FISH OUT, JUDOKU IN The team behind popular Korean restaurants Spoon and Bowl’d has a new enterprise coming to North Oakland. Chi Moon and Jessica Oh — who have two Bowl’d locations in the East Bay, in Albany and Oakland, as well as Spoon in Berkeley — are opening a new restaurant in Oakland called Judoku Sushi. [Note: Moon and Oh are using the company name of Jechi, and gave Berkeleyside the actual name of the new restaurant — Judoku — on Friday afternoon. Oh also said, via email, that Judoku means "addict" in Japanese.] The new venture is set to take the place of Drunken Fish on Piedmont at Broadway. Sushi spot Drunken Fish had quite a long run, but served its last meal Sept. 26, according to a reviewer on Yelp. No word yet on when Judoku will open or exactly what diners can expect to find, but stay tuned for details. The business does have an on-sale beer and wine license pending with the state — as well as a temporary permit already issued, which may bode well for a prompt opening. Judoku is set to be located at 3314 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. 

Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley Police recover loaded firearm, 9 ounces of pot during bust of 13-time felon

Image via Facebook
Print Friendly

A man with 13 felony convictions dating back to 1978, who was stopped by police recently while driving in Berkeley, has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with three new felonies related to firearm possession and drug sales.

A woman with him in the car has been charged with possession of marijuana for sale, and also with the fraudulent possession of the personal information of 10 people.

Calvin Phelps, also known as Eli Washington, and Maridena Wilson, 44, were stopped by Berkeley police Sept. 4 at San Pablo Avenue and 67th Street just before 10:20 p.m.

According to court papers, police smelled marijuana in the vehicle. During a search, they found nearly 15 grams of suspected marijuana, along with a digital scale and more than 100 sandwich bags, which can be used in drug sales.

Police obtained a search warrant for Phelps’ apartment, on Tyler Street in Berkeley, and recovered a loaded firearm, and 9 ounces of suspected marijuana packaged for sales, as well as 14 fake or fraudulent credit cards and 10 driver’s licenses with Wilson’s photograph on them. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

Streamlined housing crisis center slated for Berkeley

Homeless services in Berkeley. Image: City of Berkeley
Print Friendly

A new one-stop homelessness services shop is in the works in Berkeley.

Announced Tuesday night, the city is changing the way it funds programs offered in town, to prioritize the people with the highest needs, in line with a federal mandate to streamline services into a coordinated system.

The city is looking to create a central office where anyone seeking services will begin the process. Currently, there are too many entry points, as well as duplicative services and a mis-match between those who receive the highest level of assistance and those who needs it most, staff said Tuesday at a work session with the Berkeley City Council.

The city spends about $3 million a year on a range of programs. That is not set to change. But how the money is divvied up, and exactly which types of services receive money, will be different. Unlike the current system, programs will have to fit into set categories to qualify for city support. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Sept. 18-24

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
Print Friendly

This is a partial list of recent crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Sept. 18-24, there were reports of 13 burglaries24 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles and nine stolen vehicles, according to CrimeMapping.comThree robberies19 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and one sexual assault were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included a weapons call, a sexual assault, a burglary and a vehicle theft. In addition, BART Police noted a robbery at the North Berkeley BART station. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at or on Facebook or Twitter; please let us know up front if you prefer to be anonymous.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Two vehicles were stolen, at 8:25 a.m. in the 2200 block of Jefferson Avenue, and at 6 p.m. in the 1400 block of 10th Street. A vehicle was also stolen from University Village in Albany at 7:17 a.m., according to the University of California Police Department.

A business was burglarized at 10:09 a.m. in the 2900 block of College Avenue.

Someone brandished a weapon at 12:30 p.m. at West Street and University Avenue. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

With Berkeley set to change civic center zoning, US Postal Service ponders lawsuit

The Berkeley City Council is poised to set up new zoning standards in Civic Center. Image: City of Berkeley
Print Friendly

The U.S. Postal Service is pushing back against a city proposal to limit development at its downtown Berkeley post office property, which has been up for sale since 2012.

Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council is slated to approve that proposal, to establish more restrictive development standards in Berkeley’s civic center on nine parcels, including the post office property at Allston Way and Milvia Street.

An attorney for the post office, R. Clark Morrison, has sent five letters to the city since January in opposition to the plan, decrying it as spot zoning, and saying the city’s decision not to pursue a full environmental review in connection with the plan is at odds with its own code and the law. On Monday, Morrison declined to comment on the matter, but one city staffer familiar with the issue said the USPS is likely to sue the city if council approves the zoning changes.

Postal Service spokesman Augustine Ruiz Jr. said via email Monday that “The Postal Service is evaluating all options with respect to the actions taken by the City of Berkeley, including evaluating the possibility of litigation.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley police arrest armed felon with robbery warrant

Image: Google maps
Print Friendly

Police arrested an armed man in South Berkeley earlier this month who was wanted in connection with one robbery, and on probation for another.

On Sept. 14, Berkeley Police Officer Derek Radey was on patrol near 67th and Mabel streets, not far from San Pablo Avenue, when he happened upon a green Ford without license plates that was parked in the middle of the road, according to court papers.

Radey spoke with the driver, who identified himself as 28-year-old Keith Davis Jr. of Berkeley.

Davis had an active felony warrant for robbery and another warrant for domestic violence. He also was on probation for robbery, which allowed police to search him.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

The lowdown: Berkeley council on homelessness, ride-sharing, minimum wage, solar bins, more

A "family" of homeless youth in Berkeley. Photo: Keith Chastain
Print Friendly

The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday this week, with a special session on how the city is working to streamline its approach to homeless services at 5:30 p.m., and the regular meeting at 7 p.m.

The special session

Coming up first, an in-depth look at homelessness in Berkeley, including an update about an effort to improve the way people access services the city offers. Earlier this year, the city hired a consultant to look closely at the city’s process for providing services. The consultant highlighted several areas for improvement, noting that the city is providing overlapping and duplicative services to people; that those with the highest needs are not “effectively targeted” for help; that money is not focused enough on helping people get housing; and that the delayed process for data-entry is also leading to inefficiencies. Read the report. … Continue reading »

Tagged ,

New beer garden, retail planned on Spenger’s block

An artist's rendering of "Fourth & Spenger" at 1901 Fourth St. Image: Abrams/Millikan
Print Friendly

Citing the need to revitalize a business that’s been on the decline for decades, a developer is seeking to make major changes to the West Berkeley block where Spenger’s Fish Grotto has operated since 1933.

Berkeley’s Abrams/Millikan, an architecture and design firm, has big plans for the Fourth Street property, which include the creation of a new beer garden, and the addition of retail shops, office space and parking. The existing restaurant use will remain, but on a smaller scale.

The city’s Design Review Committee took a look at those plans last week, but Abrams/Millkan — working with San Francisco-based Jamestown Properties — held a community meeting in June to provide an overview of the project. According to developers, about 20 people attended, and seven people signed a petition in support of the project, which is called “Fourth & Spenger.” The project was submitted to the city by Elliott Abrams later that month.

Read more about development in Berkeley.

In total, developers plan to add just 10,000 square feet of structure to the property. But some existing buildings on the block are set to be demolished and replaced with new uses, including about 3,500 feet for the beer garden and adjacent patio, nearly 18,000 square feet of new retail shops — on the corners of both Fourth and Fifth streets at Hearst Avenue — and 1,900 square feet for a new fish market next to the restaurant. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,