Teen surrenders after baseball bat attack, police standoff

The Grove Park baseball diamond backstop. Image: Google Maps
The Grove Park baseball diamond backstop. Image: Google Maps

A 17-year-old male with a baseball bat who authorities say attacked another male, causing potentially life-threatening injuries, then climbed on top of the Grove Park baseball field backstop, ultimately surrendered to officers who focused on talking him down Friday afternoon.

At about 12:10 p.m., according to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, police received a report of an assault at Grove Park, at 1730 Oregon St., in South Berkeley. The teenager had struck another male, whose injuries were severe enough to require transport by ambulance to Highland Hospital, the area’s trauma center.

Officers responded quickly to the park and set up a perimeter. They found the teen with the bat sitting on top of the backstop, at least 12 feet up in the air. He was reported over the scanner to be non-responsive, with the bat beside him.

Police called for a less-lethal weapon to be brought to the park, as well as Tasers from Albany, but made it clear over the scanner that they wanted to talk the teen down using a CIT approach — focused on crisis de-escalation and intervention — and a mental health worker, who also was called to the scene. 

Police also asked for an ambulance to stage nearby, and extension ladders to help facilitate the teenager’s journey to the ground.

He was “non compliant” and appeared to be “altered,” police said over the scanner. During the incident, the lieutenant on scene repeatedly emphasized the crisis intervention approach, and said he was “using time as a mechanism” to help bring the teenager down.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the teen agreed to climb down from the backstop of his own accord. Police took him into custody without incident.

Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, confirmed that police had been called to the scene shortly after noon for a felony assault with a bat, and said the reported suspect had then climbed up onto a structure at the park.

“Officers were able to talk him down,” she said, after about 45 minutes. “He was safely taken into custody.”

The male victim, whose age has not been released, was taken to the hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries, she said. No other information was immediately available.

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Emilie Raguso is Berkeleyside’s senior editor of news. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: emraguso. Phone: 510-459-8325.