Tag Archives: Shootings in Berkeley

Berkeley music collective honors slain rapper ‘AyeGee’

Neighborhood Heavy
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[Editor’s Note: Berkeleyside freelancer Delency Parham knew Alex Goodwin Jr. This story includes some of Parham’s own reflections, as a young Black man himself, on the loss.]

Berkeley-based music collective Neighborhood Heavy honored slain group member Alex “AyeGee” Goodwin Jr. on Friday with the release of a five-track mixtape titled, “#LongLiveAyeGee.”

The project features five previously unreleased songs from Goodwin, who was shot and killed earlier this month on the front porch of his South Berkeley home. Along with the rest of Neighborhood Heavy, the 22-year-old Berkeley native had been hoping one day to make music his full-time work.

Now, as friends and family mourn his death, members of Neighborhood Heavy say they are hopeful their friend and brother can live on through their music.

Goodwin was born and raised in South Berkeley. A product of all Berkeley schools, parks, and recreation centers, he epitomized what it meant to be from this city.

See the GoFundMe page.

His ability to be there when people needed him most is what allowed him to impact so many lives in such a brief period. Not only was he a son, he was an uncle, an older brother, a grandson and a companion to many. Like most young men, he had a passion for sports; some might even describe him as a Golden State “Warriors fanatic.” … Continue reading »

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Crime log: Police raid and drug bust, Northside prowler, library vandals sought, mail thieves spotted, RIP ‘AyeGee’

There was a crash at Ashby and Acton. Photo: William Fertman
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

SNAPSHOT From Aug. 12-18, there were reports of five robberiessix burglariesnine assaults or batteriestwo weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also seven stolen vehiclesnine disturbances and 25 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two weapons calls, a vehicle theft and two vandalisms, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the Aug. 12-18 round-up below.

[NB: The CrimeMapping dataset for Aug. 12-18 is incomplete. Berkeleyside has asked BPD for a fix. The Alameda County sheriff’s office is also having trouble with its Inmate Locator and online case tracking systems; a fix is expected by the end of the month, the agency has reported.]

Recent public safety news: Hot off the presses

ARMED ROBBERY NEAR CAMPUS Early Wednesday morning at 1:50, BPD reports there was an armed robbery at Blake and Dana: “Two suspects walked up behind the two victims and demanded their property while pointing handguns at them. The victims gave the suspects a wallet and cell phone,” and the robbers fled northbound on foot on Dana. The robbers were described as 25-year-old black men with thin builds, 5 foot 9 to 5 foot 11. They wore black hooded sweatshirts and jeans and were armed with handguns. (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.)

SOUTHSIDE BURGLARY ARREST On Wednesday afternoon, a reader asked Berkeleyside: “What’s going on with all of the cops on Bancroft and Telegraph?” UCPD Sgt. Sabrina Reich said, at about 1 p.m., staff in the Unit 3 student housing complex, at 2400 Durant, “reported a suspicious person who was seen in multiple residence halls.” UCPD officers tried to speak with the man but he ran into a nearby apartment complex where UCPD was able to detain him. Police identified the man as 25-year-old Wilford Hooper of Hercules. Reich said Hooper was found to be in possession of property stolen from Unit 3, and was arrested on suspicion of burglary, probation violation and a warrant out of Contra Costa County. He was taken to Berkeley Jail. He is being held in connection with misdemeanor indecent exposure, in addition to the other violations. Hooper’s next court appearance was not listed online.

PROWLER IN NORTH BERKELEY On Friday, Aug. 19, at about 9:30 a.m., BPD got reports of a prowler in the 2400 block of Virginia, followed by a similar report in the 1600 block of Euclid a short time later. A reader described to Berkeleyside “8 cop cars on Euclid between Virginia and Hilgard. With their guns out.” According to BPD, citizens helped police track the prowler’s flight path through the block and nearby backyards. Two people were detained but ultimately no one was arrested. BPD said, according to one report, a man had been masturbating in a common area of an apartment building. The case remains under investigation. “The citizens were helpful,” said watch commander Lt. Andrew Rateaver. “It is important for residents to know what is going on in their area.” (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeley homicide victim ID’d as Alex Goodwin Jr., 22

Alex Goodwin. Photo: Alex Goodwin/Twitter
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Twenty-two-year-old Alex Goodwin Jr. has been identified as the person who was fatally shot by San Pablo Park late Thursday night.

Authorities have not released the name, but friends have identified Goodwin online and the family has been informed, according to those familiar with the neighborhood.

Thursday night’s shooting became the first homicide of the year after Goodwin was pronounced dead at Highland Hospital early Friday morning.

Multiple callers reported the sound of gunfire to police just before midnight. Numerous callers said they heard three shots around Mabel and Burnett streets.

Berkeleyside broke the news of the shooting at about 2:20 a.m.

Goodwin lived in the 2900 block of Mabel according to records online. A woman called police around the time of the gunshots to report that her brother had left their home but not come back in, according to scanner recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside.

BPD has not confirmed whether that call referred to Goodwin.

The young man attended Berkeley Arts Magnet, King Middle School and Berkeley High.

In a chilling post on Twitter less than a week ago, Goodwin wrote, “When I die, turnup for me… On Mabel in front of Grams house like I would want you to.” … Continue reading »

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Update: Man dead after shooting near San Pablo Park

Image: Google Maps
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Berkeley had its first homicide of the year early Friday after a man in his 20s was shot and critically injured near San Pablo Park.

Police called to southwest Berkeley just before midnight following reports of possible gunfire found a young man down in the street who was breathing but unresponsive.

Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel said shortly before 4:30 a.m. that the man was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

“We don’t believe that there is an immediate threat to the community as the shooting does not appear to have been random,” he said. “The suspects are still at large. Homicide detectives are on scene and working the investigation.”

Frankel confirmed that dispatchers got numerous calls just before midnight Friday about loud reports — possible gunfire — near Mabel and Burnett streets. Several callers reported hearing what sounded like three gunshots. The location is south of San Pablo Park and north of Ashby Avenue. It’s one block east of San Pablo Avenue.

One woman also called police to say her brother had stepped out of their home in the 2900 block of Mabel and had not come back inside, according to unconfirmed scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside.

Officers who responded to the scene found a 22-year-old man down in the street at Burnett and Mabel. Initially it was unclear whether he had been hit by gunfire. … Continue reading »

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Crime log: Robbery arrests, gunfire in South Berkeley, stolen rental car found by CHP, National Night Out, more

See BPD's calls for service over the past six months in a heat map. See the list of incidents. Source: City of Berkeley
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Note: The crime data typically published by the Berkeley Police Department has not been fully updated since early June due to technical problems. Berkeleyside has requested a fix, and an estimated date for that fix. The items that appear below have primarily been gleaned from reader tips, arrest records, calls for service reports and reports to other law enforcement agencies. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com. Don’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

Recent public safety incidents in Berkeley

STOLEN RENTAL CAR RECOVERED Authorities arrested a man in Berkeley after linking him to a stolen SUV on Wednesday, July 27. According to the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate Division spokesman, Officer John Fransen, the Alameda County Auto-Theft Task Force got a call that day from Hertz Rentals about a vehicle that had been recently stolen: “They notified us the vehicle was a silver 2016 Chevrolet Suburban that was stolen from their lot in Oakland earlier in the day. They also gave the Suburban’s current location.” Task force investigators responded to that location, the 2800 block of McGee Avenue in Berkeley, and spotted the unoccupied Chevy parked along the curb. Investigators kept an eye on the vehicle until a man later identified as 32-year-old Reginald Sinegal approached it and got inside. Investigators stopped Sinegal and took him into custody without incident. He was booked into North County Jail in connection with the stolen vehicle. No further information was available.

ROBBERY ARREST Police arrested Rico Thomas, a security guard, after a robbery last Wednesday at 7:16 a.m. at Gilman Street and West Frontage Road. The 28-year-old is no longer in custody, according to sheriff’s office records. He was released on $30,000 bail. He was charged with robbery and a special allegation related to prison eligibility if convicted, along with two misdemeanors tied to carrying a concealed loaded firearm in public. He is scheduled for his preliminary hearing Aug. 11.

GUNFIRE IN SOUTH BERKELEY Police got multiple reports Wednesday from residents who heard shots fired near Oregon and Acton streets in South Berkeley. BPD spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel said officers “responded to the scene and were unable to find any persons, vehicles, or residences that were hit with gunfire.” They did recover shell casings from the scene. Police called local hospitals but found no one who had been admitted with apparent gunshot wounds.

WEAPONS CALL AT NORTH BERKELEY BART The BART Police were called to the North Berkeley station after one person reported having gotten into a verbal fight there with someone who showed him a gun in his waistband. The incident took place around midnight Thursday, July 28. Authorities said the suspect was last seen at the bus stop at the station. Berkeley Police officers arrived and saw someone in the bus zone who matched the description. The station was temporarily shut down and trains were held at Berkeley PD’s request, according to the BART Police. When BART Police officers arrived, they detained the possible suspect. When they searched him, however, they found no gun, and he was eventually released. According to the BART Police, a use of force investigation was conducted. No further information was provided.

Continue reading »

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5 teens arrested after BB gunshots fired in Berkeley

Berkeley police cruiser (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley police have arrested five people in connection with shots fired last week from someone in a car with a BB gun.

According to Sgt. Andrew Frankel, BPD spokesman, police received several reports of someone shooting a BB gun from a silver sedan early last Tuesday morning, July 19.

Shortly after midnight, there was a report from Channing Way and Ellsworth Street where two people in a car shot someone in the back with what was believed to be a BB gun, according to authorities.

Frankel said that, about 45 minutes after the initial call, a Berkeley Police officer “heard BB gun shots coming from a car that fit the description” provided earlier. … Continue reading »

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Police: Possible BB gun used in Berkeley students’ assault

I-House. Photo- UC Berkeley
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UC Berkeley Police reported that a man began shooting at a group of UC Berkeley students early Monday morning. The weapon may have been a pellet or BB gun, police said. Nobody was seriously hurt, but one victim sustained a minor injury and was treated at a local emergency room.

According to UCPD, the assault happened at about 12:22 a.m. at International House, at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way. Eight Cal students were standing and sitting on the steps outside International House, also known as I-House, when they noticed a man standing across the street holding what appeared to be a gun. It was later determined to be possibly a pellet or BB gun.

The suspect started shooting the gun towards I-House and the students ran inside.

Witnesses who spoke to the police reported that there may have been a second male suspect who was letting off fireworks.

One victim was taken to the hospital to be treated for a minor injury. … Continue reading »

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Crime calls: Gunfire on Stuart, battery arrest, psych eval

Readers often ask Berkeleyside about public safety incidents, like this arrest on Milvia Street on Tuesday. Photo: Jeannie Choe
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Berkeleyside got several questions Tuesday about police activity in town, including an investigation into gunfire on Stuart Street that damaged a vehicle, an arrest downtown after a fight, and an agitated man who ended up being taken for a psychiatric evaluation in South Berkeley.

The Berkeley Police Department responded at about 8:40 p.m. to the 1900 block of Stuart Street, said Lt. Dan Montgomery, weeknight watch commander. There had been reports of possible gunfire.

Officers found no victims, but they did discover one vehicle that had been hit three times by gunfire and left at the scene. … Continue reading »

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Jury recommends death in double murder case

Relatives of Anthony Medearis III and Alaysha Carradine thanked members of the district attorney's office, including prosecutor John Brouhard (left) after the verdict came in. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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An Alameda County jury came back Thursday to recommend a sentence of death in the case against Darnell Williams Jr., who had already been found guilty of the killings in 2013 of a little girl at a sleepover and a man who was pleading for his life as he tried to run away.

The same jury found Williams guilty one month ago of those murders, along with the attempted murders of three other people and the accidental shooting of his own nephew. But, because the death penalty was a possible sentence in the case, there has been a second phase of the trial involving new evidence in recent weeks.

Read complete coverage of the case.

The jury deliberated for about a day before coming back with its verdict. Judge Jeffrey Horner said Thursday afternoon that Williams would be sentenced Sept. 21. The jury’s verdict is a recommendation the judge could ultimately reconsider.

Williams did not respond to the verdict except by looking up at the courtroom clock, which he has done often throughout the proceedings. When the judge asked him if he wanted to give up his right to be sentenced within 20 court days, he responded with a quiet “yes.” No supporters attended the hearing on his behalf.

The case was the first one to go to trial under Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in which she sought the death penalty. The last person in the county to be sent to death row was David Mills in 2012 after his conviction for triple murder.

O’Malley attended Thursday’s hearing, and said it was the execution of a child, and the near-deaths of two other children, that — in part — made this case so heinous and prompted her to seek the death penalty.  … Continue reading »

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Jury to begin deliberations in murder trial of ‘psychopath’

Alaysha Carradine, 8, and Anthony "Tone" Medearis, 22, were both killed in fatal shootings in 2013. Photos: Courtesy of family
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In closing statements Tuesday in the murder trial of Darnell Williams Jr., attorneys on both sides said the 25-year-old Berkeley man was a psychopath. But they disagreed in their advice to the jury about what his sentence should be.

Prosecutor John Brouhard told jurors the death penalty would be the fair and just punishment for Williams, who fatally shot two people in separate incidents in 2013, and tried to kill three others.

Defense attorney Deborah Levy agreed with the assessment of her client as a psychopath, but said the jury could still choose to show him mercy.

“Was he born that way?” she asked the jury. “I don’t think so.”

She noted that Williams had not shown remorse or emotion throughout the trial process.

“I know you’ve seen it,” she told jurors. “It’s part of his emotional illness, that’s why. Psychopaths, they are unable to feel for others.” … Continue reading »

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Williams decides not to testify; defense rests

Rene C. Davidson Courthouse. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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After suddenly announcing Wednesday that convicted murderer Darnell Williams Jr. would testify on his own behalf, the defense team backtracked Thursday morning with the brief announcement that it would instead rest its case.

The disappointment in the courtroom was palpable, as relatives and supporters of Williams’ two murder victims, along with other attorneys and interested spectators, had come to court to hear what he had to say.

At least some members of the jury appeared miffed they had made the trip to court for nothing.

“I knew your sucka ass weren’t going to get up there,” the sister of Anthony Medearis III — one of Williams’ two victims — yelled at him as she left the courtroom. Court staff told her she could not return for the remainder of the trial.  … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Convicted murderer says he’ll take the stand

Darnell Williams Jr. mugshot. Photo: ACSO
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Minutes after a forensic psychologist described the extensive and longstanding impulse-control problems exhibited by convicted murderer Darnell Williams Jr., he suddenly announced through his attorneys that he plans to take the stand in his own defense.

His attorneys said it wasn’t the first time they had discussed the subject, but were not expecting the announcement Wednesday, just as they were about to rest their case in the “penalty phase” of the trial.

At the end of testimony, the Alameda County jury that found Williams guilty earlier this month of two murders will make a sentencing recommendation to Judge Jeffrey Horner: either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The two-person defense team had just completed questioning the woman they said would be their final witness — forensic psychologist Gretchen White — when the attorneys and judge said they needed to have a brief discussion out of the presence of the jury.

Read complete coverage of the case.

The judge had already told jurors they would be excused until Tuesday morning, when attorneys would present their closing statements. … Continue reading »

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Convicted killer: ‘I been in the streets since I was 9’

Darnell Williams Jr. mugshot. Photo: ACSO
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Despite knowing he would be arrested as a result, the father of a convicted murderer came to court Tuesday to ask for mercy for his son, who could face the death penalty after being found guilty earlier this month of gunning down two people, including a child, in 2013.

Darnell Williams Sr., 49, told the Alameda County jury charged with recommending a sentence for his son that he had not been a good father. He was locked up more than a dozen times, was in a prison gang called the Black Guerrilla Family, and has been addicted to drugs, including crack cocaine. He dropped out of high school after 10th grade.

The elder Williams, who is currently on parole, said he wanted to share “anything I can say that could save my son. I’m here to see and apologize to my son… for not being a good dad. And I was a drug addict and I stayed in prison.”

He said he missed his son’s birth because he was “on drugs real bad,” and regretted missing his son’s life and his football games.

“I never wanted [him] to be nothing like me,” he said.

The elder Williams said he expected to be taken into custody — on a warrant for a parole violation — after his testimony. He was on the stand for less than 15 minutes. After he stepped down, he looked at his son and mouthed the words, “Love you, man.” Officers from the district attorney’s office took the elder Williams into custody outside the courtroom after he hugged his brother, who had testified earlier in the day. … Continue reading »

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