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Police Blotter

Tuesday July 15, 2003

Gunshots disrupt party 


Gunshots broke up a large southwest Berkeley party early Saturday morning, but did not appear to injure anyone, police said. 

Police received a flurry of 911 calls after gunshots broke out at about 2:04 a.m. at a party on the 1400 block of Fairview Street, according to Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Mary Kusmiss. 

“Neighbors told police that they heard some commotion and yelling and possible bottles breaking and then heard pops, or loud bangs,” Kusmiss said. 

Fourteen police officers responded to the call and many fled the party as police arrived. While none of the witnesses who spoke to police saw the shootings, several indicated that a group of Asian men in their early-20s in a compact, gray or light-colored car may have fired the shots, according to police. 

Two of the officers on the scene found about six shell casings from a “larger caliber semi-automatic weapon” on the block, Kusmiss said. 

The case is still under investigation and there are no confirmed victims of the shooting. Kusmiss said investigators are reasonably certain that the shooting was unconnected to the apparent border feud between drug dealers in North Oakland and South Berkeley that erupted in mid-June but has been quiet for the last three weeks. 

Kusmiss said the description of the alleged shooters, as well as other factors she would not name because they might jeopardize the investigation, led to the conclusion that the party shooting was unrelated. 



Alleged burglar arrested 


A 23 year-old Alameda man was arrested Sunday evening on suspicion of two “hot prowl” burglaries in Berkeley, police said. 

A hot prowl burglary, in police lingo, is a burglary that takes place when the victim is at home. 

A 28 year-old Berkeley man entered his home on the 2400 block of Blake Street at about 6:42 p.m. and found a man walking down the stairs with a backpack in his hands and two sets of headphones around his neck. 

The resident told the thief to drop the backpack, which he did, dashing out the front door shortly thereafter, Kusmiss said. When a police officer arrived to take a report from the resident, he heard talk on police radio of another hot prowl burglary at 7:10 p.m. 

A 30 year-old woman on the 2300 block of Ellsworth Street said she grew concerned when she heard her dog Wendel barking in her bedroom. 

When she went to quiet her dog, she found a window open, a screen removed and a chair on the ground outside, next to the window, according to police. When Wendel continued to bark in the direction of the bed, she suspected that a thief might be in the area and yelled for him to leave. 

“All of a sudden, she saw a male suspect jump over her bed, as he had apparently been hiding behind it,” Kusmiss said. 

The resident grabbed the front of the suspect’s shirt and tussled with him, but he broke free and escaped through the front door. 

A patrol lieutenant later found a man who fit the description of the burglar in People’s Park, and the two victims positively identified 23 year-old Billy Ray Jennings. 

Jennings was booked for two counts of burglary and a parole violation. 

“Good work by those astute residents,” said Kusmiss. “And thanks to the dog.”