Man in van arrested after gunfire reports in West Berkeley

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Police took a man into custody Thursday night after investigating reports of gunfire in West Berkeley, authorities report.

Just before 6 p.m., a caller told police about a man in or around a van shooting a gun in the 900 block of Heinz Avenue, near Seventh Street, said Officer Byron White, Berkeley police spokesman.

The dispatcher was able to hear gunfire over the phone call, too, White said.

Officers who responded found a man inside his van at Heinz and Seventh and identified him as the person responsible for the gunfire, White said. Police used a loudspeaker to communicate with the man to get him to come out of the van, then took him into custody.


Police put out an alert just before 6:20 p.m. telling the community to “Avoid the area bounded by Fifth Street, Anthony Street, Ninth Street and Grayson Street.” BPD said “Officers are conducting a search for an armed suspect.”

At 6:40 p.m., a woman told Berkeleyside on Twitter that “Police came into the restaurant we are at and told us to take cover. We are all still under the tables.”

Police then searched the area to make sure no one else was shooting. As of about 7:35 p.m., authorities said the area was clear.

No injuries have been reported.

The man’s name was not immediately available because the investigation is still underway.

Update, 8:15 p.m. Police identified the man as 47-year-old Michael Hermon, whose address was listed as “unknown.” Police arrested Hermon on suspicion of weapons-related offenses, White said.

Update, Feb. 22, 10:55 a.m. Hermon, a veteran, was arrested on suspicion of two felonies related to shooting a firearm, along with two misdemeanors: having the loaded firearm and disorderly conduct. He is being held at Berkeley Jail with a bail of $52,500. His next court hearing was not listed as of Friday morning.


Update, Feb. 22, 1:30 p.m. Hermon has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with the discharge of a firearm with gross negligence and carrying a loaded firearm, both felonies. The gun was not registered, according to charging documents. He remains in custody.

Berkeleyside updates this post as more information became available.