Update, Feb. 2, 12:25 p.m. The man found deceased on West Street was 70-year-old Gary Skupa, according to a close friend of his who asked to remain anonymous. Skupa was a native of Colorado, a long-time Berkeley resident and activist, and a volunteer and board member of Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center on San Pablo Avenue. Authorities said they were unable to confirm the identity at this point. Asked why the case was first described as “suspicious,” Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said: “Initially, the investigation was classified as suspicious because it appears the victim passed away, unattended in a public area. We have to gather as much information as possible to try and determine what may have occurred. It appears the victim may have been riding his bicycle and collapsed. This is not a ‘murder’ investigation, it is a death investigation.”
Original story: The body of a man was found on West Street near Delaware on Sunday afternoon. Berkeley Police are classifying it as a suspicious death.
“We received a call of a person down, BFD responded and the male victim was pronounced deceased,” Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats told Berkeleyside.
The call came in around 4:30 p.m., Officer Coats said. There did not appear to be any sign of foul play.
Just after 5 p.m. Tom Price posted a photo in a tweet that showed police on the scene:
@berkeleyside body under sheet along Olohne greenway north of Hearst pic.twitter.com/b4ICeEo2oF
— Tom Price (@Tomprice) February 2, 2015
West Street at the location the body was found is a bicycle and pedestrian path.
Police ask anyone with information about the case to call 510-981-5741 or the non-emergency line at 510-981-5900. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can dial Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
Berkeleyside will update this story as it gathers more information.
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