Berkeley police officer fires gun after encountering in-progress robbery

The incident happened at the CVS pharmacy in North Shattuck around 9:18 p.m. Thursday. No one is believed to have been injured by the gunfire.

The parking lot at CVS Pharmacy in North Shattuck: the area where a BPD officer discharged her firearm Thursday, July 30. Image: Google Street View

Update, Aug. 5: Six days after an officer fired her gun, Berkeley police have not released new information. See our Aug. 5 update.

Original story: A Berkeley police officer fired her gun Thursday night in North Berkeley after encountering an in-progress robbery involving three people, according to Berkeley police. At this point there have been no reports of injuries due to gunfire.

At 9:18 p.m. an officer was patrolling near CVS Pharmacy at 1451 Shattuck Ave. (at Rose Street) when she suddenly encountered an in-progress robbery involving three people: two men and a woman. While attempting to detain them, she fired her gun, according to a BPD statement. (The incident was originally described by BPD as a theft and subsequently as a robbery because of use of force.)

BPD said it is in the early stages of the investigation, “but we have not discovered anyone struck by gunfire.”


Nobody was detained or arrested during the incident. One man and two women were last seen in dark sedan, according to Berkeley police spokesman Officer Byron White.

In the Berkeley police radio traffic from the incident a police officer said she fired “two rounds” and describes the suspects fleeing in a blue Ford Fusion.

The officer was transported to a local hospital for an injury to her foot, which happened during the encounter. She has subsequently been discharged.

White told Berkeleyside Friday morning that he could not comment on whether the three suspects were armed because of the nature of the investigation. Nor could he say how many shots were fired. He said BPD, which first put out an alert about the incident around 1:25 a.m., would be releasing more information including, eventually, footage from the body camera worn by the police officer.

“Any time an officer discharges a firearm in performance of their duties, it’s a serious matter, and it’s important that we conduct the investigation in a thorough, thoughtful and methodical manner,” he said.


Readers report seeing multiple police cruisers at the CVS store Thursday night, as well as a crime scene unit. They said the pharmacy’s parking lot was taped off. One local resident said he heard “multiple shots.”

The last shooting involving a Berkeley police officer took place in 2012.

This month, Berkeley voted to adopt an updated use-of-force policy for police that will expand what types of force officers track and report and how they make this information available to the public. The policy that will go into effect on Oct. 1, prohibits police from shooting at moving vehicles. As of Friday morning, BPD has not confirmed whether the officer shot at a vehicle or whether she discharged her firearm in self-defense.

This incident is being investigated by the department’s homicide unit and the department’s internal affairs unit. As is protocol, the District Attorney’s Office was notified of the incident and the officer will be placed on administrative leave — pending the outcome of the concurrent investigations.

This developing story is being updated as Berkeleyside continues to do reporting.


Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside. Email: tracey@citysidejournalism.org.