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Tuesday March 20, 2001

A 26-year-old woman returning home from a party was allegedly dragged behind a house by three men and forced to perform oral sex on one of them, police said.  

Berkeley Police Lt. Russell Lopes said the victim was leaving a party March 9 with friends when they stopped at a Shell station on the corner of Fulton Street and Durant Avenue to discuss their next move. When her friends decided to proceed to another party, the victim set out for home alone, Lopes said.  

Three men walking on the opposite side of the street crossed over and forcibly carried the woman off the street about 3 a.m., police said. Then, as one man stood lookout on the street, the others forced the woman to perform oral sex. 

The three man fled when the lookout reported someone approaching, police said. Police said the victim reported the crime on March 12. An investigation is ongoing. 


After a weeklong investigation into the disappearance of a maintenance worker at Berkeley Marina Yacht rental company, Berkeley Police homicide investigators called in Alameda Country Sheriff’s Department divers to search the waters near where the man was last seen working. 

On March 15, the divers discovered the body of Berkeley resident Ronnie Smith, 34, submerged in four feet of water near the boat he had been working on, Berkeley Police Lt. Russell Lopes said. He said investigators are assuming that Smith, a nonswimmer, fell into the water in a spot more than 12-feet deep. 

“There were no signs of foul plays,” Lopes said, adding the a preliminary report from the coroner’s office indicates the cause of death as accidental drowning.  

The investigation remains open until the results of a complete autopsy are in, Lopes said.  


In what police say may be a gang related dispute, a heated argument between two groups of youth ended in gun fire and broken windows on Sunday. 

Lopes said what started as a verbal altercation between two groups near the parking lot of H’s Lordships Restaurant on the 100 block of Seawall Drive escalated when a member of one group smashed out the windows of a car belonging to a member of the other group. 

In response to the assault on the car, an unidentified youth produced a gun and fired a series of shots into the air, causing dozens of people to flee the area in panic, Lopes said. 

By the time police arrived on the scene all suspects were gone, Lopes said. One youth was at a hospital in Walnut Creek late Sunday with an injured arm. He later told Berkeley Police he had been present during the earlier incident. Lopes said he refused to identify any of the other participants or describe what had taken place.