Police have identified a man alleged to have struck an officer with his vehicle while trying to escape with a stolen wallet on Tuesday, Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said.
Shortly before 4:40 p.m., officers from the Berkeley Police Department responded to Ecole Bilingue De Berkeley — a French language school located in the 1000 block of Heinz Avenue in Berkeley — on reports that a wallet theft had just occurred.
Witnesses said that a man, who police have identified as 32-year-old Deandre Soanne Irvin, entered a classroom and stole a teacher's wallet.
Kusmiss said that the teacher immediately noticed her wallet was missing and ran outside, where she and several other employees chased Irvin.
The employees caught up to Irvin but, before they could get the wallet back, Kusmiss said that the suspect fled in a white Volvo.
When officers arrived at the scene, witnesses provided police with a description of the Oakland man and his car, Kusmiss said.
Police then began doing area checks of convenience stores and gas stations to locate the alleged robber.
Kusmiss said that an officer spotted Irvin and his Volvo at the Econo gas station, near Eighth Street and University Avenue, just over a mile away from the school.
As the officer approached and grabbed Irvin, the suspect hopped back into the vehicle, according to Kusmiss.
Irvin engaged in a struggle with the officer on the driver's side of the car and drove off, with the officer partially hanging out of the car, according to Kusmiss.
"The suspect was able to drive forward, then accelerate in reverse and drive forward again, which hurled the officer to the pavement," Kusmiss said in a statement.
The man sped away and several officers pursued his Volvo, Kusmiss said.
Over the course of the chase, Irvin abandoned the car near the intersection of Seventh Street and Dwight Way, according to Kusmiss.
Two officers continued to chase him on foot and were able to detain him near a parking lot, located at 820 Parker St.
Kusmiss said that witnesses at the language school positively identified Irvin as responsible for the theft.
Officers found Irvin in possession of heroine and marijuana and also conducted a DUI investigation on the alleged robber, Kusmiss added.
Irvin was booked into the Alameda County Jail and is being held without bail.
The injured officer was aided by emergency medical personnel, transported to a local hospital and was released late Tuesday night with minor injuries, Kusmiss said.
Police are not yet releasing the officer's identity.