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Berkeley Police Kill Armed Hit-and-Run Suspect

By Dan McMenamin, BCN
Tuesday June 29, 2010 - 02:41:00 PM

An armed hit-and-run suspect was fatally shot by Berkeley police after he fired a gun at them Monday night, a police spokeswoman said today.  


The suspect, who has not yet been identified, was shot by the officers near the intersection of Eighth and Camellia streets in Berkeley, police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said.  


Albany police had tried to stop the suspect, who was wanted in connection with a hit-and-run, at about 10:45 p.m. but he refused to pull over, sparking a chase that ended near Eighth and Jones streets in Berkeley where he jumped out of his silver Honda, Kusmiss said.  


Albany police requested emergency assistance from Berkeley police, and eight officers responded. The officers were in the process of setting up a perimeter when one of them spotted the suspect walking on the east sidewalk of Eighth Street near Camelia Street, according to Kusmiss.  


Three officers approached the suspect and asked him to stop. The officers noticed he had a semiautomatic pistol in his hand and ordered him to drop the weapon, she said.  


Instead, the suspect allegedly turned and fired at least two shots at the officers, who returned fire, Kusmiss said. The suspect was hit and died at the scene, Kusmiss said.  


No police officers were injured.  


The three officers involved in the shooting are being interviewed this afternoon by the Police Department and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office and will be placed on paid administrative leave, according to Kusmiss.  


The suspect's weapon was recovered near his body on the sidewalk, she said.  


Kusmiss said the suspect was not carrying any identification, so the Alameda County coroner's bureau will likely have to use fingerprints to confirm his identity. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday morning.  


The shooting happened right in front of Berkeley Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, according to church pastor the Rev. Brian Hunter. No church personnel witnessed it, he said.  


He said that to have a shooting in the neighborhood is "unheard of."  


"I've been here for almost 15, 16 years, and there's nothing that's ever happened like this in this area," he said. "This is very, very rare."  


Kusmiss thanked a handful of people in the neighborhood who witnessed the shooting and came forward to provide statements to police.  


The witnesses "provided really important valuable info for the investigation," she said. "We're grateful in any crime when community members participate and we can work together."