Update, Aug. 19, 10:15 a.m. Police say a 25-year-old man who was the intended target of Saturday’s shooting in Berkeley is still in critical condition as of Sunday morning. Two other men, ages 57 and 63, were innocent bystanders struck by gunfire, authorities said. Both are in stable condition, said Officer Byron White, police spokesman. White said it’s too soon to say what may have motivated the attack, which appears to have involved an exchange of gunfire between men in their 20s. Police said Saturday that an associate of the 25-year-old returned fire once the man had been struck. Officers were able to speak with a number of witnesses Saturday who provided descriptions of what took place. The investigation is ongoing, White said. Cities of residence for the victims have not been released.
Original story: Berkeley police and firefighters responded to San Pablo Park in South Berkeley on Saturday to help three men who had been shot, authorities report. Police said shortly after 9 p.m. that all three are expected to survive — despite serious or critical injuries in two instances.
BPD Lt. Peter Hong confirmed early in the evening that three people had been shot at the park, at 2800 Park St. Reports about the shootings began coming into BPD just before 5:35 p.m.
“A large group of people was already in the park prior to the gunfire,” Hong said at about 5:40 p.m. “Officers on scene are trying to secure the crime scene and gather information.”
The Berkeley Fire Department took two men, ages 25 and 57, to a regional trauma center after the shooting. They went “Code 3,” meaning they used their lights and sirens due to the very serious or critical nature of the men’s injuries, BFD said. In a notice just before 9:25 p.m., police said “one of the seriously injured men is in stable condition, while the other is still in critical condition.”
A 63-year-old man had a graze wound to the hand, police said, and was taken by the Albany Fire Department for medical treatment. The 25-year-old was shot in the mid-section in the southern area of the park, while the two older men were shot in a barbeque area to the north.
Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Lindenau said shortly after 9 p.m. that police found casings in at least two locations, and one person in the park may have returned gunfire after someone started to shoot at the 25-year-old. Lindenau said at least two vehicles and one home also were damaged by gunfire.
One reader saw a “Dozen or so police cars speeding up Sacramento” at about 5:40 p.m. Another heard “heavy gunfire” south of the park, with “Screaming, lots of police.”
One witness told police they saw an involved vehicle on Park Street with gunshots coming from the passenger side, according to unconfirmed scanner recordings.
A neighborhood resident told Berkeleyside she heard two rounds of six gunshots following by “speeding car sounds” and, 5-10 minutes later, “lots of sirens.”
David Yee, a local news photographer who responded to the scene, saw a group of celebrants singing “Happy Birthday” at a picnic table as police investigated the crime scene a few dozen feet away. There were at least two bounce houses set up in the park for parties Saturday, he said.
Lt. Lindenau estimated that 100-200 people were in the park when the shootings happened. He, too, noticed that some parkgoers did not seem to have been disturbed by the violence.
“People are still jumping in the jump-house during this whole melee,” he said.
In April of this year, a resident was injured by flying glass during a shooting just south of the park in the 2900 block of Mabel Street. The most recent shooting near the park took place in May, according to Berkeleyside records.
This is just awful. The park is usually filled with people at the park at this time on a Saturday. I love SP Park and this is devastating.
— Serena D. (@serenadondon) August 19, 2018
South Berkeley’s San Pablo Park is bounded by Park and Mabel streets to the east and west, and Ward and Russell streets to the north and south.
Authorities have previously identified the park as the scene of an ongoing turf battle between gangs in South and West Berkeley, but there was no information immediately available Saturday as to whether that relates to the latest shooting.
Police ask anyone with information or potential evidence, including surveillance footage, to call BPD’s Homicide Unit at 510-981-5741.
Berkeleyside updated this story throughout the evening as more information became available.