Tag Archives: Shootings in Berkeley

Crime

Wallace found guilty in 2010 Berkeley murder

Yellow tags marked the location of evidence at the 2010 shooting scene. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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After less than two full days of deliberation, an Alameda County Superior Court jury found Brandon Wallace guilty Monday morning of first-degree murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm in a 2010 Berkeley double shooting that has been slow to work its way through the system.

The guilty verdict means Wallace, 26, could face more than 50 years in prison.

Wallace of Pittsburg was accused of opening fire at point-blank range — with a second shooter who has never been arrested or charged — on lifelong friends Gary Ferguson Jr. and Larry Belle as they stood talking and joking on a Sacramento Street sidewalk on Oct. 26, 2010, near the shop where Belle worked cutting hair.

Read Berkeleyside’s in-depth look at the trial.

“I just hope it brings some closure to the Ferguson family,” said prosecutor Matt Wendt after the verdict was read shortly before 11 a.m. Monday.

The jury began its deliberations Wednesday afternoon. The group continued through the day Thursday but did not meet Friday. Monday morning, jurors asked to review some video associated with the case, and to hear some testimony read back, according to Judge Jon Rolefson, who said he wanted to make sure those requests were part of the official record. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Jury deliberations begin in 2010 Berkeley murder case

Gary Ferguson Jr. Photo: Ferguson family
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Jury deliberations began Wednesday afternoon in the trial of 26-year-old Brandon Wallace, who has been charged in the murder and attempted murder of two men in 2010 on a sunny morning outside a South Berkeley barbershop.

Wallace’s trial began Monday, March 7, not long after a codefendant in the case — 26-year-old Coleon Carroll — pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Authorities say Wallace and another man who has not been publicly identified opened fire at point-blank range on lifelong friends Gary Ferguson Jr. and Larry Belle as they stood talking and joking on a Sacramento Street sidewalk on Oct. 26, 2010, near the shop where Belle worked cutting hair. Ferguson, 35, died within the hour, and Belle spent more than a month in the hospital after the two assailants unleashed a hail of bullets on the pair. Authorities found more than 20 casings from two different guns at the scene.

“They pumped those bullets into those bodies even as they lay on top of each other,” Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Matt Wendt told the jury during closing arguments Wednesday morning. He described the killing as both “coldblooded and calculated” while playing the jury surveillance footage he said clearly showed Wallace opening fire then fleeing the crime scene, limping because he had been shot accidentally by his “little partner” during the brazen attack.

Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Narby urged the jury to find her client innocent of the charges against him, and painted a picture of investigators who got caught up in an “obsession to win at all costs.” She said police did not do enough to track down evidence — in the form of BART surveillance footage or witness statements — that might have proven her client to have been elsewhere during the shooting. They suffered from “tunnel vision,” she argued, when they learned that someone had come into a hospital seeking medical care for an injury consistent with one they believed they saw on surveillance footage of the crime.

“It was good police work that allowed Brandon to be developed as a suspect,” she said. He fit the general description of one of the shooters, had a similar gunshot wound and similar purple shoes, and was a black male with long dreadlocks. “But all that neutrality, all that organized fact finding, once Brandon was developed as a suspect there was a rush to judgment.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man, 40, turns himself in after Berkeley shooting

Berkeley police detectives arrive on the the scene of a shooting at Delaware Street and San Pablo Avenue, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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Update, March 31: Councilwoman Linda Maio’s office has organized a meeting Saturday, April 2, at the Berkeley Adult School to discuss the violence: “The third shooting in just a few years at San Pablo and Delaware is a third too many. It is time for more concerted action.” See the meeting flier.

Original story, March 16: A 40-year-old man walked into the Berkeley Police Department on Wednesday and turned himself in following a shooting on San Pablo Avenue on Tuesday morning that left a 28-year-old man in critical condition.

Authorities had sought a search warrant Tuesday in connection with their investigation following the shooting outside Bing’s liquor store, on Delaware Street and San Pablo, at about 11:30 a.m. They later sought a Ramey warrant — an arrest warrant signed by a judge rather than the district attorney’s office — in connection with their suspect in the case.

Police announced the arrest shortly after 5 p.m. in a Nixle alert. Authorities said the man went into the police department just before 12:45 p.m. and surrendered.

According to Alameda County sheriff’s department records online, the man has been identified as 40-year-old Ali Griffin, a copy consultant. … Continue reading »

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Man and woman in critical condition after shooting

A car where two people were shot sits on Tremont Street near Prince Street, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Photo: David Yee
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Police responded to South Berkeley, near Tremont and Prince streets near Ashby BART station, for a report of a shooting with a male victim in the area shortly after 1 a.m.

At 1:20 a.m., Berkeley police were called to a local hospital for a report of a female victim who had been dropped off there with gunshot wounds.

Scroll down to the bottom of the story for updates.

One local resident told Berkeleyside she heard the sound of a car speeding off near Woolsey Street and Shattuck Avenue, followed by “a mass of sirens.”

The information that appears here was reported over the scanner but, shortly after publication, police confirmed the accuracy of this report. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Update: Man arrested after Berkeley shooting

A police officer guides a family back home as police continue to search for a gunman in the area, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, March 25, 2016. Photo: David Yee
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Update, March 31: Councilwoman Linda Maio’s office has organized a meeting Saturday, April 2, at the Berkeley Adult School to discuss the violence: “The third shooting in just a few years at San Pablo and Delaware is a third too many. It is time for more concerted action.” See the meeting flier.

Original story, March 15: Berkeley police have responded to a shooting on Delaware Street and San Pablo Avenue with one confirmed victim, authorities report.

Around 11:30 a.m., police got numerous calls about shots fired in that location, said Sgt. Andrew Frankel, Berkeley Police spokesman.

Scroll down for live updates.

First responders found one man injured at the scene. His condition was unknown as of publication time.

The suspect was last seen westbound on Delaware.  … Continue reading »

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Defense attorney: Berkeley detectives ‘rushed to judgment’ in murder case arrest

Yellow tags marked the location of evidence at the 2010 shooting scene. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley murder trial launched Monday morning with the attorney for defendant Brandon Wallace arguing that investigators were too quick to zero in on him when he showed up at a local hospital with a gunshot wound after a fatal shooting on Sacramento Street in 2010. During the incident, one of two assailants appears to get shot from behind accidentally by the other while they unleashed a barrage of bullets on two men chatting on the sidewalk.

Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Narby and Deputy District Attorney Matt Wendt gave their opening statements Monday before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.

Read background on the case.

Authorities say Wallace, 26, and another individual who has not been arrested or publicly identified, walked up to Gary Ferguson Jr., 35, and his friend Larry Belle, and opened fire on them outside Johnson’s House of Style, where Belle worked as a barber, on the morning of Oct. 26, 2010. Authorities found more than 20 bullet casings from two different guns at the scene.

In surveillance video from outside the barber shop, which Wendt played in court Monday for the jury, Wendt said Wallace can be seen getting shot, then limping away as he runs down Sacramento Street after the shooting. He said the suspect in the video wore jeans and tennis shoes that looked similar to the ones detectives found with Wallace in the hospital as he sought treatment for a gunshot wound. Wallace told doctors he was hurt when someone tried to rob him in Richmond. … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Gunfire in South Berkeley, fire on University

Fire in the 1700 block of University. Photo: Kevin Hobbs
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Update, 9:45 p.m. In other breaking news, BART service has stopped in Berkeley due to a person on the tracks between the MacArthur and Ashby stations. A major power outage also hit West Berkeley on Sunday night. Tune in to Berkeleyside’s Facebook page and Twitter for updates. (Accounts are not needed to view the pages.)

Update, 8:38 p.m. Police confirmed that the information that follows is accurate regarding the shooting. No victims have been identified at this time, and no arrests have been made. Said Lt. Alyson Hart, watch commander, “We are still piecing together what may have happened.”

Regarding the fire, eastbound University was closed between Grant Street and Jefferson Avenue as a result of that response. Motorists were advised to find another route.

Original post, 8:15 p.m. First responders have been busy Sunday night despite the wet weather, with gunshots reported in South Berkeley and a structure fire on University Avenue.

Reports about the gunfire are preliminary, as Berkeleyside is waiting for official news from authorities. The fire is under control and at least two people have been displaced. One person was taken to the hospital after the fire for medical care.

According to unconfirmed scanner traffic, police were called in the 2800 block of McGee Avenue, near Oregon and Russell streets, shortly after 6 p.m. for multiple reports of gunfire.

There were numerous calls about at least one male seen with a gun. Witnesses reported several people running away from the block, and police detained at least two people at about 6:10 p.m. and were looking for others who may have been connected. (They were not arrested, BPD said later.) … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Feb. 11-17

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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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, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From Feb. 11-17, there were reports of seven robberies12 burglaries20 assaults or batteriesthree weapon-involved calls and four sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 19 stolen vehicles16 disturbances and 17 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A robbery, a sex crime, two domestic assaults, two burglaries and a vehicle theft were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). The following items represent a sampling of calls; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period. Arrested individuals listed in this blotter are presumed innocent.

Thursday, Feb. 11

There were two disturbance calls, at 4:42 a.m. in the 2400 block of Warring Street, and at 8 a.m. at Ashby Avenue and Seventh Street.

A 22-year-old female student told UCPD she saw an unshaven man expose himself on Upper Sproul Plaza at 1:30 p.m. near the Golden Bear Restaurant. He looked 20-30 years old, and appeared 5 feet 9, with a heavy build and light-colored hair. He was carrying a dark canvas bag. The case is under investigation.

Three vehicles were stolen: at 5:45 p.m. in the 2800 block of Telegraph Avenue; at 7:15 p.m. at Parker and Fulton streets; and at 9 p.m. in the 1100 block of Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

There was a robbery at 7:05 p.m. in the 2700 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

From the BART Police: A female victim said she was walking near the northwest portion of the BART station near Adeline Street and Ashby Avenue, at about 7:10 p.m., when a 17- to 20-year old male approached her from behind and grabbed her iPhone. She struggled with him, but he managed to grab the phone before fleeing. She chased after him for 2-3 blocks, but lost sight of him, then walked to a friend’s home nearby to report the robbery to police. Police said the robber was described as black, approximately 6 feet tall, with a medium build. He was wearing a purple shirt.

There was a felony sexual assault at 9:10 p.m. in the 2500 block of Haste Street.

Police responded to a call at about 9:25 p.m. on Scenic Avenue near Virginia Street. Said Officer Jennifer Coats, BPD spokeswoman, in response to a question from Berkeleyside, a cyclist went down in the street, but was unable to tell police what caused it: “At the time the officer spoke with him, he was unable to recall specifically what happened. There were no witnesses or other callers to the incident.” The rider, a 25-year-old Berkeley man, was taken to the hospital for his injuries, which did not appear to be life threatening.

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Crime

Berkeley man takes plea deal in 2010 murder case

Yellow tags marked the location of evidence at the 2010 shooting scene. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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One of two men charged in a fatal shooting in 2010 outside a Berkeley barbershop, which left a second man critically injured, entered a no contest plea this week in connection with a lesser charge just before the case was slated to head to trial.

Coleon Lee Carroll took the voluntary manslaughter plea as he and co-defendant Brandon Wallace, both 26, ramped up for trial, which had been long delayed due to numerous attorney changes and postponements previously in the court process. Trial preparations for Wallace are underway, and opening arguments are expected in his case in the first half of March.

Authorities identified Carroll and Wallace, during court proceedings in 2012, as “part of a gang in Berkeley called the Waterfront gang.”

Both men had been charged with murder for the Oct. 26, 2010, shooting of 35-year-old Gary Ferguson Jr. outside Johnson’s House of Style on Sacramento Street. A second man, a longtime barber at the shop, was also struck by a hail of bullets when two men walked up to them before 9 a.m. and opened fire. Authorities ultimately identified Carroll as the getaway driver, and Wallace and an unnamed third man as the shooters.

Carroll and Wallace were charged with attempted murder, in connection with the shooting of the barber, and Carroll faced a felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon. (He had been found responsible for committing a robbery in 2007 when he was still a juvenile.)

The plea deal, for voluntary manslaughter and an arming clause, resulted in a sentence of 13 years in state prison, which Carroll will serve at 85% time, said Teresa Drenick, Alameda County district attorney’s office spokeswoman. That translates into total time to be served of about 11 years since his original arrest in 2010. He has been in custody since then. … Continue reading »

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3 Berkeley teens injured, 2 seriously, in shooting

Berkeley police inspect a vehicle linked to Tuesday night's shooting. Photo: Dan Lurie
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Update, Feb. 17, 2:45 p.m. Police said there had been no updates in the case, and that no further information would likely be released today due to the ongoing investigation. Detectives continue to work the case. No further details about the conditions of the victims were released.

Update, Feb. 16, 10:25 p.m. Police further identified the victims as Berkeley residents. The 16- and 18-year-olds received serious injuries. The 19-year-old’s injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

As of 10:20 p.m. Parker Street was open to all traffic, according to a Nixle alert released by the Berkeley Police Department.

Authorities ask anyone with information to share to call BPD at 510-981-5900.  Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Update, 9:07 p.m. The three victims of Tuesday’s shooting were males between 17 and 19 years old, according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. Two of the teenagers are in serious condition, while the third has non-life-threatening injuries. All three were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Police are still trying to determine how the shooting happened, and have not detained any suspects, Coats said. The teenagers were sitting in a vehicle when the shooting took place.

Scroll down for raw video of the police statement about the shooting.

“We don’t believe it was random,” she said. “Somebody did actually open fire on the vehicle.”

Police started receiving multiple 911 calls at around 7:35 p.m., Coats said, reporting gunfire. Officers are still on scene talking to neighbors and conducting the investigation. The 1100 block of Parker is closed between San Pablo Avenue and Matthews Street. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police make arrest in 2014 Berkeley killing

The killing took place in the parking lot of Seabreeze Market. Photo: Brian Costales
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An Oakland man has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the fatal shooting in 2014 of 21-year-old Damarco J. Thomas.

On Saturday, police arrested Keivon Burnette on a warrant in Oakland at 9:25 a.m. after working on the case for more than a year, said Carolyn Jones, East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman.

Jones said authorities believe the shooting happened when a group from Oakland tried to rob a group from Stockton during what was supposed to be a marijuana sale in the Seabreeze parking lot Oct. 28, 2014. Members of both groups were armed, Jones said.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Gun violence makes for busy weekend for Berkeley police

Police responded to two shootings in South Berkeley over the weekend. Locations are approximate and reflect only the block. Image: Google Maps
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Berkeley police handled two significant incidents over the weekend involving gunfire, one that sent a man to the hospital and another that led to the arrest of three 18-year-olds.

Police have been unable to respond to a request for information about the incidents, so Berkeleyside reviewed scanner transmissions to learn, at least preliminarily, about what took place. The information that follows has not been confirmed, but this story will be updated if details are provided by authorities.

Saturday, police responded to a home on Stuart Street, near California Street, after a man called police to report that he had been shot in the leg. Paramedics took the man to Highland Hospital for treatment, but he was not cooperative, according to scanner recordings.

(Update, 6 p.m. A brief statement from police appears at the bottom of this story.)

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Defendant in 2015 Berkeley murder case headed to trial

Christian Sheppard featured
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After hearing sometimes chilling testimony from three witnesses at a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court, Judge Trina Thompson ordered Anthony Durant to stand trial in the October 2015 killing of Christian Sheppard, Berkeley’s only recorded homicide last year.

Sheppard, 24, the father of two young daughters, was fatally shot on the night of Oct. 6 behind the apartment complex at 1611 Russell St. in South Berkeley. He had been playing dice with Durant, then 24, who was charged with murder and unlawful firearm activity after emptying 16 rounds from a semiautomatic handgun into Sheppard’s body. Durant then fled the crime scene and dumped the gun in a nearby yard, according to police. He was arrested Oct. 7 and remains in custody on a no-bail hold.

Read more about 2015’s only Berkeley homicide and about the man who was killed.

Both Sheppard and Durant attended Berkeley schools, had known each other since childhood and grew up in the same South Berkeley neighborhood. … Continue reading »

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