Two young men have now been charged in connection with a pair of gang-related shootings in Berkeley earlier this year, in March and April, after a new arrest last week, according to court papers.
David Russell, 19, of Oakland told police he threw a Glock 9mm — one detectives believe was used in the shootings — off the Bay Bridge after his partner, 19-year-old Grayson Gordon of Berkeley, was arrested in May. Authorities said in court documents that both men are part of a “subset” of West Berkeley’s Waterfront gang called “Babas” that has been in conflict with the South Berkeley “Ls” gang in recent years.
One shooting took place in April at the Rosewood Manor Apartments at 1615 Russell St. at about 9:40. Police identified four men standing on a balcony there as South Berkeley “gang associates” who were “believed to be the intended targets.” BPD has not said how many shooters there were that night — describing them only as “numerous” — but the group arrived in two vehicles and “All the suspects appeared to be armed with handguns.” Casings littered the block when police responded to investigate.
After his arrest, Russell admitted he was one of the shooters that night, according to police. But there was more. He also said he was one of the shooters in a gang-related case from March, at Russell and California streets, not far from Rosewood. Two people were shot, including one in the neck, as they sat in a vehicle shortly after 11 p.m. March 9, according to police. Both survived.
In late May, Berkeleyside reported on Gordon’s arrest, as well as some background on the gang rivalry. Police have described Babas as the “new generation” of West Berkeley’s notorious Waterfront gang, and said the fissure between teenage South and West Berkeley gang members that started around 2015 has involved both turf battles and disrespect online.
A third man also was arrested in connection with the Rosewood investigation, Amed Arabzai, but he has been charged in a separate case for gun-related violations, including the felony of obliterating identifying information on a firearm. He has not been charged with the shootings. Arabzai, who is 21 and lives in Berkeley, was released on his own recognizance and has a pretrial hearing Aug. 21. Police identified him as a marijuana dealer who has been “shipping marijuana all over the United States via USPS.”
In July, about a month ago, BPD sought an arrest warrant for Russell. Authorities picked him up last week Thursday, Aug. 2, at 10 a.m. at an apartment complex on Pierce Street in Albany, according to court papers.
Monday, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Russell and Gordon with five felonies: both shootings as well as other gun-related violations. Gordon also was charged with four felony and misdemeanor counts related to guns. Neither teenager has any prior convictions listed.
Russell remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $1.01 million and is set for a pretrial hearing Wednesday, according to Alameda County sheriff’s office records online. Gordon is also at Santa Rita, with a bail of $465,000, and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Sept. 20.
[Note: Court papers list Gordon’s address as in Richmond, but his mother told Berkeleyside he is from Berkeley, and attended Berkeley schools throughout his life. This story has been updated.]