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Shot fired into grocery store

By Ben Lumpkin Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday February 28, 2001


A shot fired from a car outside a San Pablo Avenue grocery store Tuesday morning blasted into a freezer box full of frozen fruit bars just a few feet from one of the store’s owners.  

Javiar Mendez, a co-owner of Mi Tierra Foods at the corner of Addison Street and San Pablo Avenue, said two men shopping in the store started a threatening conversation with him, left the store and then fired one shot at him from a nearby car before making a speedy getaway. Mendez said the younger of the two men, approached him in the store and started trying to pick a fight. 

“He said, ‘You don’t know me. The call me Peligroso,’ ” Mendez said, using the Spanish word for “dangerous.”  

Mendez said he told the two men “I’ve got nothing to do with that,” and they eventually left the store. They then called him from a car at the curbside, Mendez said, and one fired a shot at him when he turned to look. 

“I’d seen them before in the store, but I’d never communicated with them before,” Mendez said of the men.  

Police at the scene declined to answer any questions. 

Herman Leung, an employee of a furniture store next door to Mi Tierra Foods, said he heard the shot about 10:30 a.m., but had no idea what it was at first. 

“I though somebody had dropped something on the floor,” Leung said. 

Leung said there have been numerous problems in the area recently, and police had visited Mi Tierra Foods as recently as Monday for another matter. 

“You always see people yelling and fighting on the street,” Leung said. But, he said, “I’ve worked here for five years and I’ve never see this kind of thing ever.” 

Berkeley Police Lt. Russell Lopes called the alleged attempted shooting an “unusual” event for the area. 

“San Pablo itself is usually relatively quiet,” Lopes said. “The vast majority of the problems are low level quality of life stuff, like people drinking in the streets, some drug dealing and hanging out.”