Young man fatally shot in Berkeley identified as 19-year-old Cal student

The young man found on Dwight Way late Monday night with a fatal gunshot wound to the head has been identified as a 19-year-old student who was set to begin his third year at UC Berkeley.

Seth Smith would have turned 20 on July 4. Photo: Courtesy of Smith family

The young man found on Dwight Way late Monday night with a fatal gunshot wound to the head has been identified as a 19-year-old student who was set to begin his third year at UC Berkeley.

Seth Smith was walking on Dwight Way, the street where he lived, when he was shot at close range, according to his mother, Michelle Rode-Smith. Her son was set to graduate from UC Berkeley in May 2021.

“He was brilliant,” Rode-Smith told Berkeleyside on Wednesday afternoon. “He was a bright light in an otherwise gloomy world. We are devastated and will never fully recover.”

Smith would have turned 20 on July 4, she said.


Police have not released a motive in the fatal shooting and no arrests have been made in the case, said Officer Byron White, Berkeley Police Department spokesman, on Wednesday.

Police have said only that a passer-by saw the young man on his back in the street bleeding at Dwight Way and Valley Street in southwest Berkeley. Police and firefighters responded to the scene and pronounced Smith dead minutes later.

White said the investigation remains in its early stages and police continue to collect evidence in homicide case.

Smith’s killing is Berkeley’s third homicide to date in 2020.


In January, a woman on the sidewalk was killed when a man fleeing a UCPD police officer reportedly ran over her. In March, a man was killed while driving through Berkeley after an apparent road rage incident. Murder charges have been filed in both cases.

Berkeleyside will share additional information about Smith’s killing when it becomes available.

Emilie Raguso is Berkeleyside’s senior editor of news. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.com. Twitter: emraguso. Phone: 510-459-8325.