A youth was shot dead and witnesses said another was wounded in broad daylight Monday at the corner of Adeline and and Harmon streets, the third murder in South Berkeley in the past month.
Berkeley Police spokesperson Joe Okies reported that a male died of multiple gunshot wounds shortly after 2 p.m., but would not confirm witness testimony that another male, also believed to be a teenager, was shot and rushed to Highland Hospital.
Okies said police were searching for the gunman who he described only as a black male. He expected to receive more information on the murder from detectives as the investigation progresses. The county coroner’s office was not releasing the murder victim’s name when the Daily Planet went to press.
Sam Dykes, an Adeline Street merchant, said he was looking out his window at around 2:15 p.m. and saw five youth gesticulating to each other on the northeastern corner of Adeline and Harmon when “one kid on a bike pulled out a 38 [caliber revolver] and used six shots.”
The gunman fled on his bike south on Adeline, Dykes said, while two others fled on foot, one running north on Adeline and the other running east on Harmon.
Racing to the murder scene, Dykes said both the boy lying dead beside a bicycle and the victim “scampering” around from a bullet wound that appeared to have struck the side of his stomach were teenagers.
“They couldn’t have even started shaving yet,” he said. Dykes added he had seen both victims previously on Adeline.
Monday’s murder comes just two weeks after Samuel Anderson, 64, was gunned down Sunday evening in his apartment at 1820 Alcatraz Ave. Two weeks prior, Mario “Tip-Toe” Jackson died after a gunman opened fire as he stood in the driveway adjacent to the 1317 Ashby Ave. apartment building where his grandmother lives.
The murders—Berkeley’s first three of 2004—have refueled community concerns that a North Oakland-South Berkeley turf battle is heating up.
“This stuff is always reactionary. It never ends,” said South Berkeley resident Rebecca Renfro who works on the corner of Adeline and Fairview and was among about two dozen onlookers at the murder scene.
Last year Oakland and Berkeley police chalked up a series of shootings, including a daylight gunfire exchange at Sacramento Street and Ashby Avenue, to a battle between rival Berkeley and Oakland factions.
Okies said it was too early in the investigations to draw any connection between the recent murders or to conclude that a cross-city battle has re-ignited.
“No one has said anything to suggest there’s a turf war,” he said.
With four and a half months left in the year murders are still down in Berkeley, where five murders were recorded in 2003, seven in 2002. The city’s death toll has now passed 2001’s single homicide..