Three Arrested in South Campus Stabbing

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday March 11, 2009 - 07:21:00 PM

Berkeley police arrested three men in the early-morning stabbing of a UC Berkeley student Mar. 7 in the city’s south campus area.  

Carlos Argenis Guzman, 22, Fernando Ramos-Hernandez, 23, and Christian Aaron Woodward, 23, were arrested for their alleged involvement in the stabbing. Guzman and Ramos-Hernandez were also arrested for brandishing a deadly weapon, battery and a hate crime—incidents that took place just minutes before the stabbing, said Officer Andrew Frankel, spokesperson for the Berkeley Police Department. 

The assault took place at 1:13 a.m. at Piedmont Avenue and Channing Way. 

Officer Frankel said that all three suspects were residents of San Francisco and did not attend UC Berkeley. The victim was taken to Oakland’s Highland Hospital, where he is in stable condition. Police have not released his name since the case is still under investigation. 

It is the second stabbing of a UC Berkeley student near campus within a year. Last May, UC Berkeley senior Chris Wootton died after being stabbed by former Berkeley City College student Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield during a drunken brawl after a party on fraternity row. 

Officer Frankel said that Guzman, Ramos-Hernandez and Woodward crashed a party at a fraternity house on the 2400 block of Warring Street late Friday night. After being asked to leave, Guzman and Ramos-Hernandez brandished a knife and the situation quickly escalated as the suspects threw a few punches and shouted anti-Chinese slurs at one of the guests.  

They left the scene at around 1 a.m., Frankel said.  

Minutes later, two of the guests who had been punched were walking on Channing toward Piedmont with other guests from the party when they were confronted by the suspects, he said. Woodward started making unwanted sexual advances toward a girl in the group, Frankel said, and her boyfriend began to argue with him, resulting in a fight. 

“Another person tried to intervene in the fight and was stabbed in the stomach,” Frankel said. An eyewitness called 911 at 1:34 a.m. to report the stabbing.  

Police officers who were patrolling the area saw the suspects fleeing and arrested them at 2709 Parker St., Frankel said. All three were booked into Berkeley City Jail at 7:05 a.m., according to court records, and were scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m., Wednesday at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland. Both Guzman and Woodward were also charged with violating parole. 

Frankel said police had interviewed a substantial number of witnesses in the case. 

One eyewitness, who did not want her name published due to concerns for her safety, gave her account of the incident to the Daily Planet. She said she had been with six girls at the party at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house at 2400 Warring St., which was shut down shortly before 1 a.m. because the three suspects were causing trouble. The suspects had provoked a few UC Berkeley rugby players, calling them “big bad football players,” she said. 

The witness said that she and nine other UC Berkeley students left the Kappa Sigma fraternity around 1 a.m. and were walking to the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at 2395 Piedmont Ave. when Woodward approached them and made unwanted advances toward one of the girls.  

“She was just ignoring him, and then she got fed up and slapped him,” she said. “Then this other guy there [with Woodward] slapped her back. Her boyfriend stepped in, people got punched and then one of the Cal rugby players who was with us turned around and said he had got stabbed. All of us were stunned but called 911 at once. I was trying to keep his pressure stable but by the time I looked up there were people everywhere. I don’t know where they came from but I guess they heard our screams.” 

Calls to UC Berkeley’s media relations department were directed to UC Berkeley Assistant Police Chief Mitch Celaya. Celaya said that he couldn’t release details about the case, since it was under the jurisdiction of the Berkeley Police Department.  

“We are assisting Berkeley police in whatever way we can,” Celaya said. “It was a random act. Southside officers have taken note of it and are being vigilant and visible.”