A Berkeley High School senior and her date were arrested Saturday at the senior prom in San Francisco for possession of a loaded gun.
Kyanna Roberson, 19, a Berkeley High student, and Emmanuel Richardson, 20, an East Bay resident, were charged by the San Francisco Police Department with possession of a loaded gun and concealed firearm and conspiracy.
Close to 600 students attended the annual high school event which was held at the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange Building at California Street in San Francisco, said Berkeley Police Department press officer Lt. Wesley Hester.
Berkeley Unified School District spokesperson Mark Coplan declined to comment on the case but said that incidents such as this were uncommon at proms.
“Most kids spend a lot of money for this one night and they don’t want anything to go wrong,” he said.
BHS safety officers were at the site to check students tickets and their bags, Lt. Hester said.
“When Roberson’s bag was searched, the officers found a loaded .25 caliber handgun in it,” he said. “She was immediately arrested by SFPD. During the situation her date Richardson stepped forward and admitted that he had handed her the gun to avoid detection. He was then taken under arrest. He made a statement during the arrest that he had been carrying the loaded gun for protection from gang rivalry between Berkeley and Oakland.”
Lt. Hester added that four to five unrelated fights had also broken out at the prom on Saturday night but nobody had been seriously hurt.
“It’s unusual for so many fights to take place at a prom,” he said. “The gun incident caught the police officers completely off guard. It was an eye opener for them.”
School Board vice president John Selawsky told the Planet Thursday that the state education code stipulated expulsion for student possession of a weapon. It was unclear what this might mean for Roberson’s ability to graduate.
“An expulsion panel looks into the offense,” he said. “The panel usually consists of three principals who listen to evidence and statements from eyewitnesses. Then they make a recommendation to the board. The board has the final say.”
Saturday’s prom had safety officers from Berkeley High as well as three police officers from the Berkeley police. Teachers, administration and parents were also present. Since the event was held in San Francisco, San Francisco police officers were also present.
“The case is currently under the jurisdiction of SFPD,” Lt. Hester said. “The San Francisco DA’s office will decide the appropriate punishment. It sort of depends on the person’s arrest history and personal record.”