Since the wave of shootings that began in mid-June, Berkeley police have been working with community members to try to track down suspects in the recent shootings, with neighbors providing anonymous tips to the department’s violence suppression team.
One spin-off of that collaboration happened on Friday, June 27. At about 5:15 p.m., police attempted to make a traffic stop on a Chevy Lumina at 58th and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. The driver failed to yield and the driver, a young male who police say has some outstanding Oakland warrants, bolted from the car at around 54th and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and got away.
A short chase ensued around this location, with the suspect running a block east onto Dover street near 54th. Police sealed off the block and searched for the man, but he could not be found. A woman who was in the car was arrested.
A neighbor who lives at 54th and Dover said she saw police with their guns drawn, and believed they were looking for the suspect in the backyard of a neighbor who lives across the street. The woman, who did not want to give her name, said she has lived in her house on 54th street for 40 years and that incidents of violence in her neighborhood have skyrocketed in the past year.
“I haven’t seen this kind of violence since the early 1980’s during the crack epidemic,” she said, adding that if police really wanted to solve the problems of violence in her neighborhood they would crack down on the open drug dealing.
“There’s a liquor store down the street where they sell drugs openly, like, inside the store,” she said. “Neighbors have complained. I have repeatedly complained to police, but it doesn’t stop.”