Police: Berkeley man tried to kill woman in unprovoked punching, slashing attack

The Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso

A man who suddenly attacked a woman he did not know as she walked to her friend’s home in South Berkeley last weekend has been charged with attempted murder, authorities report.

The woman was in the 1500 block of Russell Street on Sunday when the man approached her and punched her in the face at 5:45 p.m. Sunday, according to court papers. He continued to attack the woman when she fell on the ground, police wrote, then “removed a knife from his waistband and slashed the VI [victim] in her left foot; cutting her leather shoe.”

The woman, who is in her 20s, was able to escape the attack and flee, according to police. BPD arrested the suspect and identified him as Charles Winbush, 33, of Berkeley. According to court documents, he lives on the block where the attack happened, on Russell between Sacramento and California streets. There was no indication from court papers that Winbush and the woman knew each other prior to the attack.

When he spoke to police, they wrote, Winbush admitted at the scene — in “several spontaneous statements” — that he had attacked the woman. He also took responsibility for the attack, including the slashing, in a Mirandized statement, BPD wrote.


The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Winbush on Tuesday with attempted murder, including a special allegation for the use of a knife, according to court documents.

Winbush has just one prior conviction listed in court papers and online records, for grand theft, a felony, in 2005. He was placed on probation after that incident.

Winbush remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail, where he is being held without bail, according to records online. He is scheduled to enter a plea at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland on Nov. 12.

Police said the incident was the second unprovoked attack where a man injured a woman in Berkeley between Friday and Monday. On Friday, authorities said a man stabbed a co-worker in the neck with scissors. She is expected to survive. He has been charged with attempted murder.

Berkeleyside has requested a booking photograph of Winbush from BPD and will update this story when it becomes available.

Update, Nov. 4: Berkeleyside added the booking photograph after it was provided by BPD.