Police in Berkeley have handled several notable cases in the past few days. Information about those incidents appears below. Have questions for Berkeleyside about a public safety matter? Use the tips form to share time and location information, photographs and any other available details.
FATALITY AT EASTSHORE STATE PARK A reader asked Berkeleyside to find out why a helicopter landed Sunday afternoon at the Eastshore State Park in Berkeley, writing: “My daily walk was interrupted by a circling helicopter that eventually landed in the field south of the polo fields near the frontage road. Several police vehicles arrived and they taped off an area as ‘Crime scene.’ An unmarked sedan arrived that looked like a detective vehicle, as well as a large black van (either crime scene vehicle or coroner vehicle). Technicians were looking at / or searching in an area out of view and in the bushes.”
Sgt. Tyrone Davis of the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department told Berkeleyside on Tuesday that police did respond at 1 p.m. to a report from Berkeley PD about a man who appeared to have died in the park. Davis said the cause of death looks to have been medical in nature or a drug overdose.
Davis said the EBRPD helicopter happened to be on patrol in the area, so it helped authorities locate the man’s body, which was near West Frontage Road and Virginia Street. Davis said the man has not been identified but appeared to be in his 40s. Berkeley police and firefighters also responded to the scene, he said.
SECOND STABBING Last week, Berkeleyside reported a fight between two men Wednesday in the Gourmet Ghetto that left one with a stab wound and the other with a head injury. The next night, police responded to the same neighborhood, to Shattuck Avenue and Berkeley Way, at 5:50 p.m. for another stabbing, said Officer Byron White, Berkeley police spokesman.
White said police found a 26-year-old man — his city of residence was unknown — who had been stabbed in the torso. “Based on the description of the suspect from witnesses, officers (UCPD) located and arrested the suspect shortly thereafter in People’s Park.” Police identified him as 39-year-old Daniel Raidy, whose city of residence also was unknown. Raidy was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. As of Tuesday, Raidy was still in custody according to court records online. His next court date was not listed.
White said the incidents were not related and that stabbings are not a common occurrence in that part of Berkeley. But there were some similarities, he added: “One of the common things between the two incidents is that both involve people in an argument and they both involved alcohol,” he said.
As for Wednesday night’s stabbing, which involved one man with a chain and another man with a knife, police ultimately arrested 36-year-old Jose Loredo Hernandez, address unknown, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. (Hernandez was the man with the knife, White said.) The other man injured in that incident, who is 30 years old, is expected to survive. Hernandez remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail and appears to have been charged, according to booking records. His next court date was not listed.
SKATEBOARD ATTACK Police responded again Thursday night to Shattuck, at Dwight Way, for a report about someone who had been attacked with a skateboard, White said. Officers on scene at 11:35 p.m. were told a 51-year-old man and his friend had found someone sleeping inside their tent. When the pair confronted that person, the interloper “responded by striking the victim in the chest with a skateboard (leaving a noticeable bruise) and then running away,” said White.
Police found 51-year-old Ronald Vargas Gonzales in the 1900 block of Dwight Way, about two blocks away, White said. BPD arrested Gonzales, whose name also is spelled Gonzalez in jail records, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.
Gonzales remains in custody as of Tuesday, according to jail records online. His next court date was not listed.
AUTO BREAK-INS ON CENTER STREET A community member told Berkeleyside about a spate of auto burglaries on Center Street near Berkeley High, near the Berkeley police station, on Saturday evening before 10 p.m. BPD had no information about break-ins as of Tuesday, White said.
The woman told Berkeleyside, by her count, eight cars were broken into in the 1900 block of Center Street that night: “Tonight I went to see ‘Home’ at the Berkeley Rep. Fantastic! Not fantastic was getting to my car parked on Center at MLK and discovering my car had been broken into. Almost every car had been broken into, almost everyone discovered them at the same time as most of us had been at Berkeley Rep. We all talked to each other, none of us had anything visible in the car.”