Inebriated student sparks campus hazing probe
The collapse of a 19-year-old UC student on a South Berkeley sidewalk last Friday has triggered a UC Berkeley police investigation of what they suspect may have been an incident of sorority hazing.
Just one week earlier, police were summoned to the Regent Street apartment of a 21-year-old university student, Steve Saucedo, who had died from acute alcohol poisoning following a drinking binge with friends from Southern California.
The incidents come as state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) officers—teamed with officers from the Berkeley and UC police departments and underage decoys—have been running stings on city booze sellers.
The first raids in early January targeted San Pablo Avenue merchants, where more than half the stores sold booze to minors. A March 19 sweep along Telegraph Avenue and other locations near campus found 14 of the 26 targeted stores willing to sell to minors.
The stings are being run with the help of $50,000 ABC grants to police departments in Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Irvine, San Diego and Santa Cruz.
State Attorney General Bill Lockyer Thursday announced the formation of a expanded statewide program designed to curb underage drinking by targeting stores, restaurants and bars.
“We have seen too many tragedies involving underage drinking, and we all must do our part to prevent them,” Lockyer said.
Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies (TRACE) evolved from a task force Lockyer formed last year after a 20-year-old student was killed by a drunk driver in March, 2003.
TRACE combines the efforts of the Attorney General’s office, ABC, the California Highway Patrol, the state Office of Traffic Safety, the California Police Chiefs Association, the California State Sheriff’s Association, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
South Berkeley home invasion arrest
Berkeley Police arrested a 31-year-old Oakland man following a home invasion robbery shortly after midnight Wednesday that resulted in minor injuries to the resident of a home in the 2500 block of Dana Street.
Two suspects remain at large, said BPD spokesperson Kevin Schofield, who also said the robbery doesn’t appear to be a random incident.
Twayne Dill was booked into city jail and held in lieu of $20,000 bail.
A three-hour search that included Oakland Police dogs, turned up a handgun believed to have been used in the crime, but not the other two suspects. They remain at large.
Armed suspect pepper sprays merchant
Armed with a pistol and a canister of pepper spray, a bandit walked into the Unitech Electronics store at 2594 Telegraph Ave. shortly before noon Tuesday and demanded cash.
The cash register drawer was empty because the store had just opened for the day, so the frustrated thief blasted with hapless victim with a pungent stream of capsacin and fled in a white four-door car.
The clerk was rushed to Alta Bates Summit medical Center, where he was treated and released.
Police have made no arrests in the case, said Officer Schofield.