People’s Park: the scene of a death on Monday, May 27, believed to be from an overdose. Photo: djwudi/Creative Commons
People’s Park: the scene of a death on Monday, May 27, believed to be from an overdose. Photo: djwudi/Creative Commons

Update, 05.31.13: The deceased man has been identified as Donovan Ziemer, 43, of Hayward, and the likely cause of death was an alcohol overdose, according to authorities, as reported by the Bay Area News Group.

Original story: One man died in People’s Park in Berkeley on Monday, believed to be from an overdose, and another was taken to Alta Bates Hospital in serious condition.

The two men were discovered by UC Berkeley police officers on a routine patrol check at around 5:00 p.m., according to Lt. Eric Tejada of the UCPD. There was no evidence of foul play, neither man was believed to be a UC Berkeley student, and the suspected cause of death was an overdose, Lt. Tejada said — either from drugs, alcohol, or both.

“They were at the south end of the park near the basketball court,” Tejada said. “One man appeared to be deceased and the other was unconscious. Berkeley Fire Department was called and pronounced the first man dead and transported the other one to hospital.”

Sky Hendricks (left) and No Teepee in People’s Park today talking about Monday’s death. Photo: Ted Friedman
Sky Hendricks (left) and No Teepee in People’s Park today talking about Monday’s death. Photo: Ted Friedman

The Alameda County Coroner’s office has not released the identity, or cause of death, of the deceased man because it has not yet managed to contact his family.

Dan McMullan, who does a lot of outreach at People’s Park giving food and clothes to the homeless people who spend time there, said he knew the deceased man, who he thought he was in his 50s.

“He had issues, but he was a sweet person. He wasn’t violent. He was lost. He had no money,” he said.

Park regulars who witnessed the police finding the men said there were three men passed out on the ground. One of them, who goes by the name Rob Zombie, gave a statement to the police, as did several others who were in the park at the time.

No Teepee, 56, speaking in People’s Park today, said the deceased man had come to the park two weeks ago after being beaten. “He showed up in the park after the beating. He looked bad,” he said. He recalled that the deceased’s mother used to volunteer giving away food in the park.

The dead man’s body remained in the park for several hours on Monday while UCPD conducted an investigation, which is not unusual, according to Tejada.

Related:
People’s Park tree sitter charged with attempted murder (01.28.11)

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...