Press Release: Two Gun Incidents at Berkeley High School Today--Three Arrested

From Sgt. Mary C. Kusmiss S-6, BPD Public Information Officer
Tuesday March 22, 2011 - 08:24:00 PM

“This morning, Tuesday, March 23, 2011 at approximately 8:45 a.m., a Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) employee heard what he recognized to be a gunshot as he was working near a portable classroom on the campus adjacent to Milvia Street. Several young people fled from the portable. Upon further exploration, there was a discernable hole through the north wall of the portable and evidence that the gun was discharged from within the men’s bathroom inside the portable. The BUSD employee called his BUSD Supervisor who in turn called Berkeley High School (BHS) to report the incident.” 

“At about 8:59 a.m., the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Communications Center received the report and a compliment of approximately 6 officers were dispatched and/or responded on their own. A BHS Safety Officer was trying to locate the suspects who were said to have fled east on Durant Avenue towards Shattuck Avenue. He provided general descriptions and officers began area checks for the suspects. Any call involving a firearm is a high priority call especially involving school campuses.” 

“At 9:23 a.m., a BPD sergeant was able to garner a more detailed description of the two student suspects and made a radio broadcast to officers. Then sometime around 10:15 a.m, the two suspects were detained by BHS Safety Officers between the G and H buildings on the BHS campus. They were positively identified as the two who were in the bathroom and had possession of the gun. Neither suspect had the gun when detained. When a gun/firearm/weapon is outstanding/missing after a crime or incident, BPD employs a great amount of due diligence to try to find the weapon. We certainly do not want it to be found by a child and/or an adult who may wish to do harm.” 

“Fortunately, a tip was received that the gun was “ditched” in the 2200 block of Haste Street. BPD found it wrapped it a jacket, rendered it safe and seized it as evidence.” 

“The two suspects, confirmed BHS students, both 15 years of age were transported to the Juvenile Booking Area of the Ronald T. Tsukamoto Public Safety Building (PSB) for processing. They will be booked at Alameda County Juvenile Hall for violations of PC 626.9 (b) Any person who possesses a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone. PC 626.9(d) Except as provided in subdivision it shall be unlawful for any person, with reckless disregard for the safety of another, to discharge, or attempt to discharge, a firearm in a school zone and PC 12101 (a)(1) A minor shall not possess a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. In addition, one of the two will also have an added booking offense of PC 653(k) Every person who possesses in any public place or place open to the public, carries upon his or her person, …a switchblade knife having a blade two or more inches in length is guilty of a misdemeanor. 

For reference - (626.9.(a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995.) **” 

“**Reminder, police officers arrest individuals, determine booking offenses or violations. It is the Juvenile District Attorney (DA) who reviews the investigation/crime report and has the responsibility for charging.” 

“During the above mentioned investigation, an anonymous tipster shared that there may be a male student in a classroom that had a gun. BHS Safety Officers and the BPD BHS School Resource Officer went to the named classroom and removed the student without incident. They found a gun in the young man’s backpack as well as a quantity of marijuana packaged for sale. This 16 year old BHS student was transported to the PSB for processing. He will be booked at Alameda County Juvenile Hall for violations of PC 626.9 (b), PC 12101 (a)(1) and H&S 11359 – Possession of Marijuana For Sale.” 

“Due to the fact that all three young men are under 18 years of age, their names are protected by confidentiality. BPD is grateful for the collaboration between the BPD BHS School Resource Officer, BHS Safety Officers, the Principal and the young people that have courage to share information when they learn of weapons being brought to any school campus. We are relieved that no students, staff, teachers, Safety Officers, employees, BPD officers or community were injured during these two incidents.”