Update: Police arrest ‘martial arts expert’ after sickle attack of 70-year-old man

Police enter a home on Parker Street in South Berkeley early Monday morning. Photo: Citizen reporter

Note: This article was updated repeatedly due to the developing nature of events. For clarity, reading each update from the bottom (in chronological order) may be easiest for those just coming to the story.

Update, May 21: Hohmann is being held at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $80,000. He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday, according to court records online.

Update, May 20, 5:15 a.m. Police have identified the man who was taken into custody early this morning as 40-year-old Nathan Hohmann of Berkeley. According to a BPD statement, the man who was injured was a 70-year-old from Oakland. The attack happened Sunday evening inside Hohmann’s home on Parker Street. Police say he attacked the homeowner and the homeowner’s friend, who sustained serious injuries to his hands and legs. The men were able to get outside to call for help.

According to police, Berkeley PD’s Special Response Team ultimately found Hohmann hiding on one of the upper levels of the home just before 2 a.m. Monday and used “less lethal projectiles” to take him into custody. A police canine from the San Leandro Police Department aided in the operation. Hohmann was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and felony battery, said BPD spokesman Officer Byron White. Hohmann has been taken to a local hospital for medical evaluation.


Update, 2 a.m. Police say the man is now in custody. BPD Lt. Katherine Smith said he will likely get a medical evaluation before going to jail.

Update, May 20, 1:30 a.m. Residents report that police have made it into the Parker Street home after setting off one or two explosions. Berkeleyside has asked BPD for an update.

Update, May 19, 11:59 p.m. Police remain on the scene in the 2300 block of Parker Street after getting a report of a tenant who had attacked his home’s owner and the homeowner’s friend, causing serious injuries to one of the men Sunday evening, said Lt. Peter Hong of the Berkeley Police Department.

According to police radio traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, the call began as a report of a 40-year-old man who was brandishing a machete outside a home on Parker between Dana and Ellsworth streets. It was later reported that the 40-year-old had used a sickle to injure a man’s hands. The tenant was described over the radio as a “martial arts expert” with a “history of mental issues and violent tendencies” who “often keeps a machete near him,” according to radio traffic. The wounded man was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Police had tried to communicate with the tenant since getting to Parker at 5:50 p.m., but the man had not responded, Hong said shortly before midnight. Police obtained a warrant for the tenant’s arrest and a warrant to search the house. BPD’s Special Response Team has taken over the scene and will attempt to resolve the situation.

Just before midnight, BPD reported in a Nixle alert that officers would be “deploying diversionary devices which are loud and should not be confused” with gunfire.

Police had already visited the home earlier in the day after the man reportedly tried to set a small fire outside, but he did not answer the door when officers arrived, according to radio traffic.


When police got to the scene Sunday evening, they surrounded the Parker Street home with long guns and less-lethal weapons, according to radio traffic. At one point, police used a battering ram to force open the door to the home. They also brought in a department robot to help with their efforts to secure the scene, according to radio traffic.

Update, 10:35 p.m. According to one neighbor, as of about 7 p.m., “the whole block is cordoned off and the police are shouting at someone to come out with their hands up.” Police have told residents that “noise could happen anytime tonight.” Berkeleyside will update this story when more details are available.

Update, 10:25 p.m. The Special Response Team, which deals with armed suspects and other high-risk situations, is on the scene and having a briefing about the situation, according to Berkeley police.

Original story, 7:07 p.m. Authorities in Berkeley have asked people to stay away from Parker Street, near Telegraph Avenue, due to police activity in the area.

Police are attempting to arrest a felony assault suspect who is inside a house, BPD said. Police ask the community to stay away from Parker Street between Dana and Ellsworth streets.

Stay tuned for further updates.