Testimony Concludes in Trial of Man Accused of Shooting Berkeley Officer

Bay City News
Tuesday October 23, 2007

Testimony concluded Monday in the trial of a six-time convicted felon from Berkeley who’s accused of attempting to murder Berkeley police officer Darren Kacalek on May 17, 2005.  

Jurors will return to court Wednesday morning for closing arguments in the trial of 38-year-old Howard Street, who’s also charged with first-degree residential burglary, carjacking and assault with a firearm in connection with a separate incident involving the robbery and shooting of a man in an Oakland motel room on May 5, 2005.  

Street admitted in testimony last week that he fired the shots that injured Kacalek, now 31, during a chase near Delaware and Sixth streets but claimed that he didn’t know he was shooting at a police officer at the time.  

Prosecutor Michael Nieto told jurors in his opening statement said that the incident began about 2:35 a.m. when two Berkeley police officers tried to stop Street when they saw him speeding in a stolen Ford Mustang at the intersection of Sixth Street and University Avenue near Interstate Highway 80.  

Nieto said Street didn’t pull over even though the officers, who were traveling in two separate cars, turned on their lights and sirens.  

The officers chased Street, but he managed to get away in the car, according to Nieto.  

In his testimony, Street laughed about ditching the police officer, saying they “were way back” after he sped up.  

“I was going as fast as that street could take,” Street said, referring to Sixth Street. Continuing to laugh, he said, “I was going fast enough to put them [the officers] three blocks back.”  

Street said he swore at and tried to attack an Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy in front of jurors during his trial because he thought the deputy had lied on the witness stand and was laughing at him.  

Street was shackled after the incident.  

Street’s lawyer, Andrew Steckler, told jurors in his opening statement that he believes the evidence in Street’s trial will show that Street believed he acted in self-defense when he fired at Kacalek.  

Steckler said he thinks the most serious charge Street should be convicted of is attempted voluntary manslaughter.