An Alameda man has been charged with eight felonies linked to four separate victims from a shooting in South Berkeley near San Pablo Park in August that sent one man to the hospital.
Jamell Tousant, 38, is being held at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $2.37 million, and is scheduled for an attorney and plea hearing next Wednesday.
According to court papers, Tousant drove to Berkeley on Aug. 15, and stopped in the 2800 block of Mabel Street, near Oregon Street, on the border of San Pablo Park at about 6:40 p.m.
He got out and fired multiple rounds from an assault rifle at a group of four men walking along Mabel, and struck one of them in the leg. A passenger from Tousant’s vehicle also fired at the group, according to police. (The man who was shot was taken to the hospital for treatment, and later was released.)
Two homes were struck by gunfire, as was a vehicle. A witness told police that a white vehicle fled the scene, and was able to pass on the vehicle’s license plate number to authorities.
Police flagged the vehicle, which Oakland officers stopped about two weeks later, on Aug. 31. During the stop, officers recovered a shell casing in the vehicle as well as a loaded handgun, and arrested Tousant.
The Alameda County sheriff’s department crime lab examined the bullet casing found in the vehicle, as well as casings from the Berkeley shooting, and determined that the casings were all fired from the same assault rifle.
Tousant later told BPD investigators he had not been in Berkeley since April or May but, according to court papers, his cellphone pinged off a cell tower near Oregon and Mabel on Aug. 15 around the time of the shooting.
On Tousant’s phone, police recovered a text message he sent to his wife after the shooting that read, “I’m hot did something trying to see if the police come over,” according to court documents. Also on the phone, police said, was an image from the Berkeleyside article describing the Aug. 15 shooting.
Police found a photograph of Tousant on his Facebook page that showed him holding “an assault rifle with a high capacity drum style magazine,” according to court papers. After searching Tousant’s home in Alameda in early September, Berkeley investigators said they found the magazine in a detached garage.
During the search, investigators also found a box of bullets matching the gun recovered when OPD arrested Tousant, and a camouflage bulletproof vest.
Police noted that Tousant is not legally allowed to own weapons or ammunition because he is a felon “with violent convictions.” According to court papers, Tousant was convicted in 2007 for robbery, and was sent to prison.
In 1995, when he was 17, he was found responsible in juvenile court for two felonies: rape while acting in concert, and oral copulation by acting in concert with force. As a result, he was required to register as a sex offender, and was convicted in 2001, after an address change, for failing to update his registration information. That was a misdemeanor but it sent him to prison, according to court papers.
Tousant has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with four counts of assault with an assault weapon or machine gun, including one causing great bodily injury; two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling; shooting at an unoccupied vehicle; and possession of a firearm by a felon.
He has been in custody on the charges since Oct. 23, when he was arrested on a warrant for the Berkeley shooting.
In April, Tousant’s 21-year-old son, also named Jamell, was killed in a drive-by shooting in East Oakland while he was riding in a vehicle in the 1400 block of 90th Avenue.
There has been one homicide in Berkeley this year, and at least nine other shootings.
Earlier this month, on Oct. 17, Berkeley police responded to the 2800 block of Mabel and found casings in the area after reports of gunfire there.
Read more about shootings in Berkeley in past Berkeleyside coverage.
Police respond to shooting near San Pablo Park (08.15.15)
Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.