Double Stabbing, Burned Cars

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 20, 2008 - 10:04:00 AM

An argument over alcohol at the Marina Liquor store on 1265 University Ave. late on the night of Nov. 13 resulted in two Berkeley residents being stabbed, authorities said. 

The Berkeley Police Department received a 911 call from the liquor store’s clerk at 11:49 p.m. who reported a stabbing. 

According to police, the clerk said that, the suspect, Richard Allan Jacobs of Richmond, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, got “enraged” after the clerk refused to sell him more alcohol since he seemed already intoxicated. 

At that moment, another customer, a 52-year-old Berkeley resident, stepped in to calm the argument and Jacobs unleashed his anger on him, stabbing him in the stomach. 

The man struck Jacobs in the head with a bottle. An acquaintance of Jacobs, a 58-year-old Berkeley woman who also uses a wheelchair, became involved and tried to make peace, but Jacobs stabbed her too. 

Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police Department said that Berkeley police officers responded to the scene within seconds of the clerk’s call and arrested Jacobs who was still at the store. 

The Berkeley Fire Department also responded to the incident with three ambulances and a fire engine at 11:50 p.m. 

Kusmiss said that the suspect and the two victims had been drinking at the time the stabbings took place. 

“This incident was clearly fueled by alcohol,” she said. “BPD deals with incidents and crime daily in which there is an alcohol related component—fights and arguments in which suspects or victims or both have been drinking. The clerk was doing the appropriate responsible thing by refusing to sell to an obviously intoxicated Jacobs." 

The male victim underwent emergency surgery but is expected to survive, Kusmiss said. The woman was treated for a stab wound to the leg. 

Jacobs, 55, was booked into Santa Rita County Jail for two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. 


Arson fires 

At 12:47 a.m. Nov. 14, the Berkeley Fire Department received a report of vehicles burning close to a building on the 1800 block of Fairview Avenue, Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong said. 

Dong said that when fire department officials reached the location, they saw that the fire had caused severe damage to three vehicles. 

Two of the vehicles were total losses, he said, and the electrical system had been damaged in the third. 

A large crowd had gathered on the site of the incident by the time authorities arrived, Dong said, adding that the fires seemed extremely suspicious. 

Officer Andrew Frankel of the Berkeley Police Department said Tuesday that investigations had revealed that the burn patterns appeared inconsistent with that of an engine fire which might lead the BPD to believe that it was arson. 

Frankel said that the fire started with a red Ford Mustang and spread to a Nissan parked next to it, from which it expanded to a power line connected to a building on the 1800 block, which melted and landed on a Honda. 

When the power line fell, Frankel said, the building lost power. 

The red Mustang belonged to an Oakland resident, authorities said, and the two other cars belonged to residents of that particular block. 

“The officers did a neighborhood canvas but nobody reported seeing anything suspicious in the area,” Frankel said. “The matter is still being investigated.”