Customers and bank employees, aided by a passerby, captured a Berkeley man after he ransacked a San Pablo Avenue bank Monday, attacked two employees with a knife and beat an assistant manager with a telephone.
Berkeley Police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said the attacker, 25-year-old Frank Eugene Moore III, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault weapon.
Police first heard of the attack when a 22-year-old man called 911 to say that two men had just run out of the Bank of America at 2546 San Pablo Ave. screaming “Someone got stabbed!”
After getting out of his car and calling 911, “as he turned toward the bank, he saw an office chair flying out the door, followed by a man running very quickly,” said Sgt. Kusmiss.
Two other men followed the running man, catching up to him and holding him down, joined by the witness, who later told police the man was actively resisting.
That was the scene that greeted officers as they arrived.
In the subsequent investigation, officers learned that the 6-foot 2-inch, 180 pound attacker had walked into the bank and demanded help with a student loan. Another employee told the assistant manager, “The guy is impatient,” and she walked over to help.
“She saw that he had started yelling at her colleague,” said Sgt. Kusmiss. “He was cursing very loudly.”
When the assistant manager said they didn’t handle student loans at the branch, and that they were typically handled over the telephone, witnesses said Moore yelled, “Bitch, get me the student loan!”
At that point, they said, the angry man yanked a phone from the wall and used it to beat her on the top of the head.
“Then he pulled a steak-type knife from his pocket, swinging it and striking in a downward direction at the manager” and the other bank employee who had originally tried to help him, said the sergeant.
After Moore hit the assistant manager and pulled the knife, the 35-year-old bank worker “jumped in to prevent him from killing her,” said Sgt. Kusmiss.
The worker grabbed an office chair to fend him off, and then both men fell to the floor, pummeling each other with their fists until other bank workers and several customers intervened.
During the fracas, a 77-year-old bank customer who was on crutches was knocked to the floor and sustained injuries.
Meanwhile, the workers and customer were “able to push him (Moore) out the door,” Sgt. Kusmiss said, “and that was where the witness came in.”
After police arrived, multiple witnesses identified Moore as the attacker.
The assistant manager was taken to the hospital as was the injured customer. The banker suffered lacerations to her head, which were stapled in the emergency room.
Moore also complained of injuries, and he too was taken to an emergency room, where he was examined and found to have suffered bruises in the attack.
Moore was booked into city jail, and later taken to the county’s Santa Rita jail, where he was formally booked on the four felony counts. He remained in custody Thursday evening.
Police found an incomplete application for Corinthian Colleges, Inc., in the assailant’s backpack. The only entries were in the comments section.
Corinthian is a private educational corporation with several campuses in the Bay Area, including Oakland and Fremont.
In her statement to police, one customer described the Monday afternoon’s attack as “the scariest thing I had ever witnessed,” said Sgt. Kusmiss. “The customers and employees were instrumental in detaining him, and quite possibly someone could have been seriously injured or killed” without their assistance, she said.
Later investigation revealed that Moore was a Bank of America customer, but he hadn’t received any loans from the bank.