Tag Archives: Berkeley crime

Crime

Armed robbery series has Berkeley police on alert

Image: BPD
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Five armed robberies and one robbery attempt have been reported in North Berkeley since last weekend, and most have happened near the UC Berkeley campus, authorities report.

A flurry of Nixle alerts has been released this week by the University of California Police and Berkeley Police departments to try to warn community members about what has occurred and how to stay safe. In addition to the six-robbery series, three other robberies were reported Sunday.

The most recent notice, released Thursday by BPD, included a map of the incidents and information about most of them. BPD released limited suspect information but noted that, “Based on the descriptions of the suspects, the close geographic proximity of the crime scenes, and the victims’ demographics, Detectives believe that the cases are related.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

2 arrested after South Berkeley carjacking

This replica gun was used during a Berkeley carjacking over the weekend. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Police arrested two Oakland men, including a parolee, after a carjacking in South Berkeley late Thursday night.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, a 24-year-old Los Angeles woman had parked her car just before midnight in the 2100 block of Prince Street when three men approached her. One of them had what appeared to be a gun.

They told her to get back into her car,” said Sgt. Andrew Frankel, Berkeley Police spokesman. “The victim dropped her purse, cell phone, car keys, and ran. The suspects picked up her property and fled the area in her vehicle.”

Minutes later, a Berkeley officer on patrol spotted the vehicle in the Southside neighborhood and pursued it.

The chase ended at Halcyon Court and Prince Street when the two men in the vehicle ran. Both were detained and arrested.

Police found a replica firearm inside the vehicle. Continue reading »

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School on alert, students on edge about ‘evil clowns’

Pennywise the Dancing Clown: thought to be an influence for the 'evil clown' phenomenon that put a Berkeley school on edge Friday Oct. 7. Photo:
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The principal of King Middle School in Berkeley contacted the police Friday after becoming concerned about a threat posted on social media about ‘killer clowns’ coming to the campus, as well as to two other local schools.

Principal Janet Levenson sent an email, labeled ‘important message,’ to the school community around 2:45 p.m. explaining that many students had been “on edge all week for fear that these evil clowns will come to King or kidnap students on their way home.”

Levinson said one of King’s students showed her an Instagram posting that stated they “were going after BHS, Longfellow and King on Friday.”

Levinson said the rumor spread on campus that the clowns would arrive during fifth period. Erring on the side of caution, she contacted BPD. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Sentencing postponed again in Berkeley murder; convicted accomplice disputes identity of killer

Carroll, at right, seen here with brothers Jermaine and Charles Davis, both of whom were been killed in fatal shootings. Photo: Coleon Carroll/FB
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The attorney for a 27-year-old man found guilty earlier this year of a 2010 murder in Berkeley has filed a motion for retrial and plans to bring in new testimony from a convicted accomplice in the case to dispute her client’s guilt.

Coleon Carroll entered a no contest plea for voluntary manslaughter in February after authorities identified him as the getaway driver in the murder of Gary Ferguson Jr. and the attempted murder of Larry Belle as they talked on Sacramento Street in South Berkeley one morning about six years ago.

An Alameda County Superior Court jury found Brandon Wallace of Pittsburg guilty in March of being a shooter in that murder. The guilty verdict means he could spend more than 50 years in prison.

Read complete coverage of the case.

But Wallace’s sentencing has been delayed repeatedly since his conviction for murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm March 21. A prior sentencing hearing was postponed because Wallace’s father was reportedly working out of state and wanted to attend.

Thursday, the hearing was postponed again, and it now won’t take place before Dec. 1.

Defense attorney Bonnie Narby told Judge Jon Rolefson she plans to bring in Carroll to say it was actually another man — his deceased cousin Jermaine Davis — who was at the shooting scene. (Davis and Wallace both had dreadlocks at the time of the murder.) Narby argued during Wallace’s trial that he was in another city during the Berkeley murder and was not the man responsible for it.

Authorities have said Wallace was shot accidentally by an accomplice during Ferguson’s murder, which they said was evident on surveillance footage of the killing. And his blood was found soaked into the front seat of the getaway vehicle. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Update: ‘Family march’ set for Thursday is canceled

Family March for Safe Streets route. Image: FMSS
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Update, Sept. 29, 9:45 a.m. The family march has been canceled due to a conflict with another event and some community pushback about the focus of the march. (The organizer has asked the community to attend the other event instead.) See the organizer’s statement about the cancelation in the comments at the bottom of this story.

Original post, Sept. 28: Two local mothers were spurred into action this week to organize a “family march” in South Berkeley after several incidents of gun violence in the neighborhood, one of which killed a 19-year-old man.

The “Family March for Safe Streets” is set to take place Thursday, Sept. 29, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Participants can meet at Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, 3350 Adeline St., beginning at 5 p.m. There will be free glow-stick necklaces for the first 50 children, and free glow-bracelets for the next 100.

Despite tonsillitis, South Berkeley resident and co-organizer Heather Zadig spoke before the Berkeley City Council during public comment for items not on the agenda on Tuesday night to alert the community to the march. The event, which is “not a protest,” is meant to help bring the community together and raise awareness about the recent shootings.

“They’re awful. They’re frequent,” she said to council, and said a number of local parents are concerned. “We’re moving our kids’ bedrooms away from the front of the street because there are sirens going by and waking them up in terror every night.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police on scene after person stabbed in West Berkeley

San Pablo and Gilman. Image: Google Maps
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A person was stabbed in West Berkeley shortly before 9 p.m., police say, but is expected to survive.

Berkeley Police watch commander Lt. Mike Durbin said officers responded to the stabbing, at Gilman Street and San Pablo Avenue, and remain on the scene taking witness statements and continuing to investigate.

The victim was taken to a local hospital by paramedics but is in stable condition and expected to survive, he said.

Durbin said there is no reason to think the stabbing was related in any way to recent incidents of gun violence in South Berkeley.  … Continue reading »

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2 shot and injured at Alcatraz and King in Berkeley

Parmedics wheel a shooting victim into an ambulance, in Berkeley, on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. This was the most recent in a string of shootings over the past few days. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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The Berkeley Police Department responded to shootings near King Street and Alcatraz Avenue on Sunday at around 8:23 p.m.

According to Lt. Alyson Hart from the Berkeley Police Department, dispatch received a call at 8:23 p.m. of “six-seven loud reports” in the area of Alcatraz Avenue, King and 63rd streets. Police located two victims on King Street north of Alcatraz. One victim was shot twice in the abdomen and the other in the leg. Lt. Hart said neither wound was considered to be life-threatening. Both shooting victims were transported to Highland Hospital.

Photos taken by Berkeleyside contributing photographer David Yee show a person being transported by first responders out of a residential building on a stretcher. … Continue reading »

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Friends mourn loss of 19-year-old gunned down in Berkeley

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The day after Ignacio Francis Jr., also known as Greg or ‘lil G’, was gunned down while standing with a group in the 1800 block of Fairview Street, his friends paid their respects at the site of his death.

A group of about 20 people, mostly in their early 20s, gathered Friday afternoon at the intersection of Fairview and Harper to light candles, make wax initials on the sidewalk, and write lil G’s name on a pole to convey how sad they felt that the 19-year-old Berkeley man was killed.

“He was a good friend, he was always there for us,” said Greg Symons Jr., 24, who knew Francis for about a year. “He was a good person. He was not a street person.”

Other friends of Francis’ also said that he had not been mixed up in gang behavior, but was an innocent who was shot on the street.

“The dude didn’t do anything,” said a 20-year-old man who didn’t want his name used but who attended Berkeley Technology Academy with Francis. He said Berkeleyside could refer to him as Wallace. “Violence is everywhere. A bullet has no name on it. I have had too many people killed.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police step up patrols after recent shootings

Police are on the scene of a shooting in South Berkeley. Photo: Citizen reporter
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Update, 1:40 p.m. Police have identified the young man shot and killed Thursday night as 19-year-old Ignacio Francis Jr. of Berkeley. Those who knew him have said he went by the name “Greg.” He was shot around 7:30 p.m. while standing with a group of people at Harper and Fairview streets. The shooting was not random, according to Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police Department spokesman.

Original story, 1:34 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department has increased patrols and stepped up investigations this week after several recent shootings, including a homicide Thursday night.

It was the city’s second fatal shooting of the year.

According to a notice released shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, police are asking the community for help as investigators work to identify and capture suspects linked to a series of shootings.

“We ask community members to quickly report any disputes or altercations, especially if a firearm is seen,” according to the statement. “Community members can also play a crucial role in locating evidence, and providing information such as newly discovered damage or providing information or home video surveillance recordings.”

A shooting Wednesday involved a 16-year-old boy from outside Berkeley who was dropped off at the hospital but expected to survive.

“Multiple residents reported gunfire, resulting in immediate response from Berkeley Police,” BPD said.

Officers say this shooting and several others “appear to have involved two groups shooting at each other. This does not appear to have been a random act, but rather an incident involving two groups of individuals targeting each other.”

Previously, police identified the groups as “gangs,” but no further information has been provided. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Update: Homicide victim ID’d as Berkeley 19-year-old

Police investigate a homicide at Fairview and Harper streets, in Berkeley, on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. It was the city's second homicide of the year. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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Update, Sept. 23, 1:40 p.m. Police have identified the young man shot and killed Thursday night as 19-year-old Ignacio Francis Jr. of Berkeley. Those who knew him have said he went by the name “Greg.” He was shot around 7:30 p.m. while standing with a group of people at Harper and Fairview streets. The shooting was not random, according to Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police Department spokesman.

Original story, Sept. 22: One person has died after a shooting in South Berkeley, authorities reported just after 9 p.m.

Acting Capt. Kevin Schofield, a Berkeley Police spokesman, said a small group of men and women were at the corner of Harper and Fairview streets when a man walked up to them Thursday evening.

“Following some type of verbal exchange, the adult male produced a handgun and fired multiple rounds,” Schofield said. “The group scattered and one person sustained life threatening injuries. BPD officers arrived quickly and attempted to provide medical aid as they summoned BFD. BFD transported the victim to the hospital where he was declared deceased.”

Police got multiple 911 calls about the shooting beginning just after 7:30 p.m.

One person, a male, was taken to Highland Hospital for treatment, according to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside. The incident took place in the 1800 block of Fairview, according to a Nixle alert released by BPD at 9:20 p.m.

No further information about the victim has been provided. It’s the second homicide in Berkeley of 2016.

Schofield said no arrests have been made but police are looking for the shooter.

According to the 9:20 p.m. Nixle, “While officers work this active crime scene the 1800 block of Fairview Street between Adeline and Ellis Streets is closed to all traffic. Harper Street between Woolsey and Fairview Streets is also closed while we investigate this matter.” … Continue reading »

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Police

Berkeley Police Department to focus on staffing, will ‘take a collective deep breath’ under new chief

Capt. Andrew Greenwood, many other members of the department, and retirees and family, attended the ceremony Thursday. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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In the wake of the abrupt departure Tuesday of Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, Acting Chief Andrew Greenwood says his short-term goals are to hire more officers and keep the department focused on the future.

“Calm, steady, forward movement is the way to go,” Greenwood told the city’s Police Review Commission on Wednesday night. “That’s kind of where I’m at.”

Greenwood was at the PRC meeting to give the regularly scheduled chief’s report and discuss the mid-year crime report, but the first topic that came up when the meeting began was Meehan’s sudden departure, announced Wednesday, and what will happen next.

Commission Chair George Perezvelez called Meehan’s resignation the elephant in the room, and noted that the leadership change — which put Berkeley native Greenwood at the helm — is “effective immediately.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police respond to gunfire calls; teenage boy struck

Image: Google Maps
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Berkeley police are responding to reports of gunfire in South Berkeley, with a teenage boy injured as a result.

Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, said calls began coming in at 5:40 p.m. about gunfire at Russell and Sacramento streets.

White said two people may have been crossing Sacramento at Russell when an occupant or occupants in a truck began to shoot at them.

No victims were on the scene, but police got a call from a local hospital reporting a possible gunshot victim. White said the victim is a teenage boy who is being treated for what is believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.

Casings were also recovered at the scene. … Continue reading »

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Police

Berkeley police chief resigns; no reason provided

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan said the public still has ample time to offer feedback. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan has resigned following reports surfaced by Berkeleyside last month of turmoil within the department and extensive criticism by officers of the chief.

Meehan resigned after nearly seven years, and Capt. Andrew Greenwood will now take the helm of the department as acting chief, according to a memo from the city manager to the Berkeley City Council dated Wednesday, Sept. 21. Greenwood, a Berkeley native, has been at BPD for 31 years. (Scroll down to see the memo.)

No explanation has been provided as to the reason for Meehan’s departure. He lives in Berkeley with his family and has a son in Berkeley schools. Many thought he would continue in his role as chief until retirement, despite the recent criticism.

Greenwood said Wednesday the resignation “came as a complete surprise” to him, and that it had been a “whirlwind five hours of figuring out” all of the logistics of the transfer of command.

“I’m sure it was a really difficult decision for him and his family,” he said. “I was asked yesterday afternoon if I would be acting chief and I agreed to.”

It is unclear exactly when Meehan put in his resignation, but he was not present for the six-month crime report to the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday evening, and no city officials asked where he was. It’s a significant meeting that he has rarely, if ever, missed in the past.

Just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Meehan posted his resignation letter on Twitter.

“While there is no good time to leave an organization you have such respect and admiration for, there is a right time and I believe, after discussing with my family, the time is now,” he wrote. See the full letter below.

On Twitter, Meehan wrote, “Thank you Berkeley! It has been an honor. My family and I are grateful.” … Continue reading »

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