Unit 2 at UC Berkeley. Photo: UC Berkeley

Authorities are looking for two males described as “middle school-aged” who used a gun to rob another individual Friday in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood near the UC Berkeley campus.

The robbery took place on the north side of the Unit 2 residential complex at 2650 Haste St., between Bowditch Street and College Avenue shortly before 8:30 p.m.

According to the University of California Police Department, which released a notification Sunday about the robbery, the two males approached another individual and took his or her cellphone. One of the males had a handgun.

UCPD said the males, who were described as “of ‘middle school’ age,” were last seen running northbound on Bowditch. Police searched the area but were unable to find them.

The robbery took place within the Berkeley Police Department’s jurisdiction. In the past six months, BPD has received 154 robbery reports since July 1, according to CrimeMapping.com. In the first six months of the year, there were 165 robberies reported.

In 2013, BPD handled 409 robberies, followed by 265 in 2014. See Berkeleyside’s most receive overview of annual Berkeley crime reports.

Police ask anyone with information about Friday’s robbery to call BPD at 510-981-5900. Read more about robberies in Berkeley in past Berkeleyside coverage.

Related:
Serious Berkeley crime skyrockets in first half of 2015 (09.10.15)

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...

77 replies on “Police seek 2 ‘of middle school age’ with gun after robbery”

  1. lspanker, I’m the guest who posted above about how easy it is for kindergartners to absorb basic concepts like “don’t point guns a people for fun.” And yet, oddly enough, I’m a liberal Democrat. Please find a more accurate term for people who make excuses for kids like the middle schoolers in the article: benevolent racists or soft bigots.

  2. When I was in kindergarten, we had a cop visit our class. He explained that he had never drawn his gun in his entire career, because you only should do that when you intend to shoot. He also explained that you should treat every gun as if it were loaded, even if it is not. That means you never, ever point a gun at another human being unless it is your intention to shoot them. Loaded, unloaded, makes no difference.

    We talked about it the next day, and it was clear that most of us got the message.

    A few years later, in fourth grade, we got the same talk. Again, it was clear that most people in the class understood.

    So no, I don’t buy it that two teenagers or preteens had no understanding of what pointing a gun meant.

  3. It’s like telling a lawyer he doesn’t have to follow the law

    Not even close.

    A lawyer is legally required to follow the law. There is no legal requirement for Berkeleyside, or any other news organization, to follow the AP Style Guide.

  4. Berkeleyside did not include pertinent details from the UCPD report, did not link to the UCPD report, and deleted comments repeating or linking to the UCPD report.

  5. Frankly, myself and the other reasonable people of Berkeley are tired of being called racists and bigots, purely because we want the best information possible about violent criminals who commit crimes on the blocks where we live.
    People are frustrated because they want the TRUTH, and they still have the stupid notion that Journalism is supposed to be an unbiased presentation of the facts.

    This article is a biased presentation of the facts, because the author doesn’t want to put forth the REALITY of the situation on the offchance that residents of one of the most progressive cities in the country amp up their racial profiling. She used a poor interpretation of the guidelines of AP style in order to defend her decision, which further upset people. Not because they are mad with racist bloodlust, but because it was a dishonest move, coming from a source that should be more ethically transparent with its motives.

    We know the Berkeleyside has the power to publish whatever they want on Berkeleyside. We aren’t facists trying to control the media. But when Berkeleyside, or any other news source starts pushing a narrative softening the truth, it clearly doesn’t sit well, and it shouldn’t.

    I totally understand why you decide to only read into this exchange at surface level, because it fits your idea that if “the white masses” (yourself clearly excluded) aren’t shielded from the truthful crime statistics, we will succumb to our horrible animal instincts of pattern recognition and sign up for with clearly booming chapter of the Berkeley KKK.

    Get off your high horse. Please realize that turning a blind eye to the Criminal Achievement Gap actually makes it worse. How can you expect to solve a problem if you won’t admit that it exists?

  6. An orgy of victimization that unfairly blamed white people for something that a Person of Color wrote.

    All the protests about that racist note at Berkeley High blamed white people even though the note was written about by a PoC and the white school administration did everything in their power to punish the student and support the black community at BHS.

  7. To all the comments haranguing Emilie and Berkeleyside about Berkeleyside policy, I remind you that the owners and staff of this news site set the policy for this news site. Stop your bellicose harangues. Start up your own news site and employ whichever policies you choose. You don’t get to set policy for Berkeleyside unless you own it or work for it.

    Many commenters write as if they have some kind of right to dictate to Berkeleyside. You do not.

    I believe that underlying all the hot air demanding Berkeleyside report the race of these children is the animus of racism but I can’t prove it.

    I applaud Berkleyside for trying to follow the AP style book and for trying to avoid contributing to racial profiling.

    I am amazed by the many comments by people who fail to grasp that Berkeleyside gets to set its own journalistic standards and its readers do not. Back off.

    Two middle schoolers waived a gun, did not fire the gun. It was an armed robbery, a serious crime. Now thanks to the bullying of some commenters here, we all know it was two black children. How does that help anything? Are we supposed to fear all middle school age, male, black children?

  8. Don’t you see the difference between suggesting children committing an armed robbery should be given a ‘final solution’ is inhumane, lacking in compassion and cold as ice?

    The things you list, tossing firecrackers or jumping off the roof of a building with a skateboard also seem like criminal activities to me. You seem like the person who can only see violent behavior when a gun is involved. Everthing you describe involved violent, stupid, criminal behavior. No child should be killed for pointing a gun without shooting, scaring the heck out of a hapless victim. yes it is a crime but not really a major crime. If these misguided children had pulled a trigger, even then, no ‘final solution’ would be appropriate.

    These kids were engaged in mindless, reckless behavior and engaged in an intentional malicious act.

    your comment doesn’t make much sense.

    This crime was some kids doing something stupid. I doubt the kids ever planned to shoot. I bet they saw the gun as an aid to getting what they wanted, loot they could sell. And, being children, I doubt they fully understood that pointing a gun, which we do not know was actually loaded, is a very serious crime, a felony when done by an adult.

    I fully understand that the children’s behavior was criminal but it was also children showing typically childish bad judgment and does not rise to the level of deserving ‘the final solution’. Do you NOT see the difference?

  9. I suppose if you clutch your pearls and run in horror every time you see a black man this might not be helpful.

  10. Their percentage of the Berkeley population doesn’t really matter. A significant number of the criminals in Berkeley are coming here from Oakland, and Oakland is almost 30% black.

  11. Berkeleyside does a great job of reporting local news we would never know about if they did not report it. If critical readers don’t like the reporting they don’t have to read their articles. If they want more crime details they can try getting them directly from the police. Getting facts is not easy. Maybe critical readers can try publishing your own local crime reports on a daily basis. It is a lot of work, and we should be grateful that the Berkeleyside continues to publish despite a never ending river of criticism from some readers. As it has been said before, “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of it yourself.”

  12. It sounded like you were saying that gun control doesn’t work when you said this:

    Illegal weapons are easily purchased on the street. In 2007 at BHS my
    son was approached by a fellow student selling a gun just outside the
    admin D building.

    California has strict gun control.

  13. Hiding Info from the public?!
    It’s as accessible to you as it is to Bside. How much do you pay them to be the middleman in keeping you informed?

  14. Don’t worry, you’re already doing your part by hiding behind the AP Style Guide to justify hiding information from the public.

  15. Perhaps we should a special add-on to the comment section addressing snarky and disrespectful comments directed at the journalists. This section is sadly replete with them

  16. Hmmmm…your tone is considerably different than the one you used in your catty comments to Emilie earlier. Sorry, don’t buy it.

  17. Oh the irony 😉 but thanks for the compliment. Oddly enough my middle name is Evan, btw.. And I’m a canine.

    Avatars and internet-foolery aside, I am trying to offer what, in my opinion at least, is a reasoned point of view. I very much appreciate Emilie’s experience and dedication to her craft, but in this case I think she’s had a bit much of one flavor or Kool-aid.

  18. I’m sorry, I disagree — based on not only my understanding of the book, but also more than 10 years of experience as a journalist, and specific training about reporting on race that I’ve had the benefit of attending. Unfortunately, I need to tap out of the discussion because I’m taking a much needed break through early January. But I’m sure we’ll have chances in the future to continue the conversation.

    I can certainly see why people would want the information, but I also think that without DETAILED descriptions, the only potential outcome is often reinforcing negative stereotypes, RATHER THAN the goal, which is to provide a helpful enough description to allow the perp to be IDENTIFIABLE.

    This means details such as skin COLOR (not just race/ethnicity), facial features, clothing, vehicle info, facial hair, hairstyle, etc. That’s what I look for when deciding whether or not to include race (no matter what race the suspect is).

  19. Um, I think I’ll stick with the credible journalist instead.

    This isn’t intended as a knock on Emilie, but when it comes to matters of race it seems “Don Aks” is the more reliable source.

    It is hard to imagine a person posting as “Don Aks” as anything other than a dispassionate, objective, and insightful voice of reason on the complex topic of race in America, particularly black/white race relations.

  20. This is the sort of mess we create for ourselves when avoiding truth. Those who deny racism and those who see it everywhere are working together to keep us all paralyzed by ignorance, anger and fear, all of which are contagious. We can’t be hypervigilant about microaggressions and simultaneously color-blind. Nor can we maintain our helpful silence about the demographics of actual violence while also being OUTRAGED at vague incidents in which actual perpetrators were never identified. Going along with this insanity requires the suspension of critical thinking to such a crippling degree that we can’t get it back when considering solutions.

  21. In the past decade, Missouri has been a natural experiment in what happens
    when a state relaxes its gun control laws. For decades, it had one of
    the nation’s strongest measures to keep guns from dangerous people: a
    requirement that all handgun buyers get a gun permit by undergoing a
    background check in person at a sheriff’s office.

    But the legislature repealed that in 2007 and approved a flurry of other
    changes, including, last year, lowering the legal age to carry a
    concealed gun to 19. What has followed may help answer a central
    question of the gun control debate: Does allowing people to more easily
    obtain guns make society safer or more dangerous?

    Research by Daniel Webster,
    the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research,
    found that in the first six years after the state repealed the
    requirement for comprehensive background checks and purchase permits,
    the gun homicide rate was 16 percent higher than it was the six years
    before. During the same period, the national rate declined by 11
    percent.

    Federal death data released this month for 2014 showed a continuation of
    the trend, he said. Before the repeal, from 1999 to 2006, Missouri’s
    gun homicide rate was 13.8 percent higher than the national rate. From
    2008 to 2014, it was 47 percent higher.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/22/health/in-missouri-fewer-gun-restrictions-and-more-gun-killings.html?_r=0

  22. Berkeleyside’s writers and editors think being politically correct is more important than helping the community.

  23. Rex Lexur is right to say you are misreading the AP guidelines, which say:

    “For suspects sought by the police or missing person cases using police
    or other credible, detailed descriptions. … The racial reference should be removed when the individual is
    apprehended or found.”

    It says clearly that race should not be removed until the individual is apprehended. In this case, they have not yet been apprehended.

    It says you should use the police description or other detailed descriptions. For either the police description or other descriptions, the intention is that you should include all the details in the source description you have.

  24. Make gun owners liable for damages due to crimes done with their guns. If you don’t take adequate steps to secure your weapon from being borrowed or stolen you hold some responsibility. Make insurance for this liability mandatory and based on lethality of the weapon. You’ll have a lot fewer AK 47s around and fewer crimes using stolen guns. How many times have we read about a gun stolen from an unlocked vehicle or accessed by a child and brought to school?

  25. Excellent example of why the police included those DETAILS in their CREDIBLE description of the suspects being SOUGHT…

  26. Kids lighting firecrackers and tossing them at each other, or trying to jump off the roof of a building with a skateboard, are “doing something stupid”. Kids committing violent felonies are doing something CRIMINAL. You’re treating these kids as if they are merely engaged in mindless, reckless behavior as opposed to an intentional malicious act. Do you NOT see the difference?

  27. The Daily Cal article says that the victim was “unaffiliated” with the campus, therefore UC won’t consider it to be their problem (never mind that it happened on their turf). Same with a frat boy dying after a party–hey, the guy was 22 and had already graduated from Cal… not their problem.

  28. Yeah….I grew up in a home with an absent father and robbed everyone in sight….there were no other reasons for it I can think of…….

  29. Emilie

    Totally understand the argument in regards to the specific incident. But with the BLM movement, Kamau Bell, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and the BSU of BUSD all making strong, *categorical* statements about whites doing violence to “the black body,” I think the facts of events like this help to affirm that their version is incomplete.

    One wonders, for example, if the racial separatism demanded by BSU and indulged by BUSD wouldn’t trickle down in some form to middle schoolers who then concluded that some lives didn’t matter quite so much.

  30. Race DOES help narrow down and highlight suspects. You are only considering the point of view of a person seeing “two males of x race” on the street. But let’s suppose you are a middle school parent or teacher. It might call extra attention if , for example, two students of that race skipped class that afternoon. It’s not useful as a “man on the street”, but it may be useful if you know the suspects. Report everything you know! We need to stop crime, not be overly protective of criminals!

  31. The AP Style quote TELLS journalists that police descriptions should be considered acceptably detailed. Journalists should use either “police (descriptions) or other detailed descriptions.”

    Consider this structurally identical fragment: journalists should eat “ice cream (treats) or other cold treats.” ice cream treats are cold; police descriptions are detailed.

    Why would AP consider police descriptions to be detailed? Because a (properly written) police description DOES include all known physical details.

    When suspects are sought by the police, ethnicity is pertinent, so journalists should use the police descriptions of the suspects, including all details. This is according to the AP quote. Whether it’s right or wrong is another issue.

  32. Having read the Daily Cal version, I agree. Knowing the skin color of the two boys tells me nothing actionable. Am I going to call the police every time I see two boys of that color? What if there are three? Or one? Or a boy and a girl?

    Obviously not. So including race wouldn’t help at all. It might hurt though.

    I do wonder about including gender. Same issues especially in light of third wave feminism.

  33. Are you saying that “credible, detailed” should be understood as “credible OR detailed,” as opposed to the more likely “credible AND detailed?”

  34. I agree that we disagree on the intent of the guide.

    I have taken training with one of the foremost journalism ethics experts in the country, through Poynter, on this issue, and here are some of his thoughts on the matter: http://www.poynter.org/uncategorized/2094/the-language-of-race/

    I agree there is news judgment being applied. But I don’t see it as editorializing at all. But you are certainly welcome to disagree with my judgment.

  35. No I got that part, I just disagree with your reading of the passage — it’s an either/or propostion: Either there is a description given by the police, or there is some other description that is similarly credible and detailed. In this case there is a description given by the police that is (demonstrably) detailed and inherently credible. So it parses like this:

    “For suspects sought by the police … using police .. descriptions.”

    Once you start layering on your own judgement as to whether the police description is sufficiently detailed or credible, I think you have crossed the line from reporting to .. editorializing? I don’t know, but its no longer objective and impartial.

  36. You do not speak for all of Berkeley in your first person plural declarations. A couple of kids doing armed robbery is serious but it does not involve racial politics for me. I do not immediately think, when reading a report of a crime, that racial politics is involved, I live in Berkeley and none of my friends instantly leap to thoughts of racial politics.

    Based on the frequent calls for Berkeleyside to include race when they report on crimes, one could get the impression some folks believe no whites ever commit crimes in Berkeley.

    In Berkeley, of all places, nothing we do or talk about should be touched by racial politics.

    And, FYI, Berkeleyside is not arbitrarily redacting race. They aspire to apply their police evenly. No arbitrariness involved. And thanks Berkeleyside for your policy, and the gold standard for daily news in the U.S.

  37. The AP entry says only to include race when the description is credible AND detailed. In no way does the UCPD description meet the standard for being detailed.

  38. Reasonable overall–but in this instance, shouldn’t the fact that they haven’t been apprehended trump the lack of specificity by the police? If there’s a robbery at gunpoint, shouldn’t you provide what identifying information we have unless and until they’re caught? Completely agree that it’s not relevant after that.

  39. I’ve never heard of withholding gender and I’m not convinced by the reason to withhold it. Including gender doesn’t mean people will be looking around at all males assuming them to be the robbers. There’s a reason racial profiling is a known term and phenomenon and a reason why the AP entry focuses on race.

  40. Emilie, are you saying that the police description did not include race or that you used the AP style, which does recommend “for suspects sought by the police…” The first sentence of the article says “Authorities are looking for…” so they are being sought. So race should be included, right?

  41. In Berkeley of all places race is highly relevant, nothing we do or talk about is untouched by racial politics – especially when it comes to crime. Arbitrarily redacting race from a police description threatens BSide’s credibility — do you aspire to journalistic neutrality or PC partisanship?

  42. Um, you aren’t following the standard that you cite. Let me quote, with emphasis:

    “For suspects sought by the police or missing person cases using police OR other credible, detailed descriptions.”

    Police looking for these guys? yup

    Police gave a description? yup

    Police description includes race? yup

    Please amend your article, and stop it with the PC redactions.

  43. Yes, BUSD should consider putting something in the curriculum to the effect that robbery victims have feelings too, so don’t be too harsh on them if the oppression of society forces you into this line of work.

  44. Sounds like a coming-of-age ritual for some kids in Berkeley – let’s go jack a Cal student, my big brother’s been doing it for years. No real downside. On the off chance they get caught, maybe they have to go to restorative justice session with the traumatized student. Nothing in their permanent record. Surprising Cal puts up with their students being the designated prey for the local thugs. You’d think they’d at least put up some cameras.

  45. Hopefully they’ll be dealt with in an expeditious and cost effective manner that does not involve the police or the need for further reporting.

  46. Nobody is forcing you to use the AP Style guide. You’re just using it as a shield so you don’t have to personally defend your journalistic choices.

    If you’re not including race, why include sex? This kind of vague description would be likely to increase bigotry against males.

  47. The UCPD gave a more detailed suspect description. Berkeleyside has removed parts of the description for their article.

  48. Where did they get the gun? Probably from someone who bought it legally and left it lying around. In European countries with gun control, children are less likely to find guns lying around the house.

  49. As per AP Style: Identification by race or ethnicity is pertinent in very limited instances. The entry on race notes that one of those instances is “For suspects sought by the police or missing person cases using police or other credible, detailed descriptions. Such descriptions apply for all races. The racial reference should be removed when the individual is apprehended or found.” The description provided by police was in no way detailed, so we did not include race. Again, this applies for ALL RACES.

  50. Is there a more “detailed” description of these ‘middle school’ age perps available? Of course there isn’t.

  51. I’m sure these kids bought the gun legally just to reinforce that gun laws work…oh wait they are too young to buy a gun so a gun law wouldn’t help would it now!

Comments are closed.