Police Blotter

Tuesday August 05, 2003

Drive-by may be linked to border feud 

A drive-by shooting that left no one wounded Thursday night may be linked to an apparent border feud between rival groups in South Berkeley and North Oakland, police said. 

Four to five men in a late model gray sedan fired several shots at the corner of Sacramento and Fairview streets at 7:21 p.m., police said, one of them piercing the window of the non-profit Western Institute for Social Research at 3220 Sacramento St. 

Institute President John Bilorusky said a bookkeeper was in the office during the shooting but was unharmed. He said staff are “not particularly happy” about the incident, but are not changing their habits  

“Unfortunately, a lot of us know that there are too many shootings affecting innocent people,” he said. 

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Kevin Schofield said police do not know who the intended victim or victims of the shooting were, but have ruled out the Institute as the target. 

He said investigators are looking into any possible link to an apparent border feud that has been raging since June, but could not yet make a determination. 

“They’re looking into that—we’re not saying yea or nay at this point,” Schofield said. 


Stabbing at party 

After brandishing a gun, an uninvited guest at a West Berkeley Party was stabbed Saturday night, according to police. 

Police got a call at 11:21 p.m. reporting a fight between 20 to 30 partygoers on the 1800 block of Seventh Street. Officers arrived to find about 100 young people loitering outside the party, at the corner of Hearst Avenue. 

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Kevin Schofield said police received a call from Alta Bates Medical Center later in the evening reporting that a stabbing victim had arrived in the emergency room. 

Police determined that the victim had wielded a gun at the party and had been stabbed. The department arrested the victim for brandishing a firearm and released him on the spot, pending an upcoming court date. 

Police have no one in custody for the stabbing. 

Schofield said the gun-wielder was one of a large group of people who crashed the Seventh Street party, sparking the fight. He said there is no reason, at present, to suspect gang activity. 


Burglar arrested in park 

Police arrested a suspected burglar in Ohlone Park early Monday morning shortly after a resident chased the alleged thief from a Francisco Street front porch. 

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Kevin Schofield said a resident of a home on the 1500 block of Francisco heard the alleged burglar leaving through the front door and confronted him on the porch. 

The suspect, 42 year-old Richmond native Michael Vance, then fled to Ohlone Park where police, responding to a 3:16 a.m. call, found him hiding in a bush. Police arrested Vance for burglary and being in the park after hours. 


Pizza delivery man mugged 

Five juveniles robbed a pizza deliveryman in South Berkeley early Sunday morning, according to police. 

The robbers, who appeared to be 14 to 17 years old, forced a Mr. Pizza Man employee to the ground at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and 63rd Street at 1:20 a.m. and stole a wallet, keys, cell phone and $300 before running away, according to Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Kevin Schofield. 

National Night Out 

At least fifty neighborhood watch groups will take to the streets Tuesday night as part of a National Night Out to combat crime, according to police. 

Marches, barbeques, musical performances and ice cream socials will be part of the festivities. The event, happening for 20 years in Berkeley, will allow neighbors, police and city officials to intermingle. 

“This is a great opportunity for Berkeley residents to meet the police officers and city staff who protect and serve the community,” said City Manager Weldon Rucker, in a statement. 

This year’s event comes amid an apparent border feud pitting rival groups in South Berkeley and North Oakland. 

“This is the worst year for the kids yet,” said South Berkeley resident Laura Menard. 

“Especially with all the recent violence, this is an opportune time for the neighbors to get to know each other” and for the police to ramp up community policing efforts, said Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Kevin Schofield. 

Festivities will generally take place between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. National Night Out, which takes place across the country, traditionally includes a display of outdoor lights and front porch vigils in a symbolic move to reclaim the night from crime.