Flash: Shots Fired in Berkeley Park; Homeless Man Detained by Police

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday September 09, 2009 - 10:30:00 PM
Riya Bhattacharjee

Berkeley police have held a homeless person in connection with shots which were fired at Martin Luther King Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley Wednesday night.  

At approximately 9:45 p.m. a gunshot was heard in the vicinity of the park, which is located next to Berkeley City Hall, across the street from Berkeley High School to the south and the Maudelle Shirek building (old City Hall) and Berkeley Police headquarters in the Public Safety Building to the west. 

Within minutes at least 7 Berkeley Police Department cars with sirens blaring reached the site and handcuffed a group of homeless men inside the park. 

A woman who had been sleeping in the park ran away to the safety of the Maudelle Shirek building lawn, at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

"I heard gun shots," said the woman, refusing to give her name fearing retribution. "I jumped and got down in the dirt. I was just passing through and I heard the shots. I am from Brooklyn--you hear shots, you get down." 

At the park Berkeley police officers were questioning two men they had handcuffed. 

BPD police officer Lt. Hong told the Planet that a group of homeless men were arguing in the park, when one of them pulled out a handgun in the heat of the argument and fired a shot. 

"I don't think he was targeting anybody," Hong said. "Nobody is hurt. We have him in custody and the firearm as well." 

Hong said a few other homeless men had been detained for questioning. 

At least two fire department rescue trucks arrived at the scene 30 minutes later and paramedics brought a stretcher to the park. Around 10:24 p.m. paramedics carried a handcuffed man from the park into the van on the stretcher .