A police officer responding to the stabbing at the park crashed into a vehicle at University and Acton, police said. Photo: Daniel McPartlan
A police officer responding to an attempted stabbing call, that turned out to have been a spurious report, crashed into a vehicle at University and Acton, police said. Photo: Daniel McPartlan
A police officer responding to an attempted stabbing call, that turned out to have been a spurious report, crashed into a vehicle at University and Acton, police said. Photo: Daniel McPartlan

Scroll to the bottom of this story for a July 12 clarification from BPD about how the crash pictured above came to pass. 

Two people were sent to the hospital Saturday after a stabbing at a Berkeley park next to the popular downtown farmers market.

One man was stabbed in the chest, and received injuries that appeared potentially life threatening, and another had a cut to the arm.

One local resident asked Berkeleyside to find out what had taken place after she saw “multiple police cars, yellow crime scene tape everywhere and … someone loaded into an ambulance” at the park. Others noted the increased police presence and wanted to know more.

Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver said officers responded with the Berkeley Fire Department to Civic Center Park at about 3:30 p.m. for a dispute between three people. Two were stabbed and the third fled the area.

The park, bounded in part by Center Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, is kitty-corner from the police department. The farmers market, which sets up in the 1900 block of Center, had closed for the day by the time of the stabbing, but vendors were still in the area packing up.

Civic Center Park. Image: Google Maps
Civic Center Park. Image: Google Maps

Berkeley officers were first to the scene and provided emergency medical aid, including field tourniquets, to the victims, who were near the fountain in the park.

The person with the chest wound appeared critically injured to officers on the scene. No information was immediately available about the ages or cities of residence of the victims.

Officers could not find the suspect, who reportedly got into a small gray SUV that left westbound on Center. Police did not say whether any weapons had been recovered.

The assailant, who was described as black, was clean-shaven with a thin build and dark complexion. He was wearing a black shirt and black pants, appeared 49, and looked to be 5 foot 6 to 5 foot 8 inches tall.

The injured people were taken to area hospitals for medical care, Rateaver said.

As of Sunday, they were still alive according to the most recent information available to BPD. No arrests have been made.

Update, 3:30 p.m. A Berkeleyside reader who was in the park provided additional context about the incident: “There was definitely an altercation going on between the seemingly homeless folks by the fountain on Saturday. There was lots of loud yelling of profanity and loose dogs. A woman seemed to be bugging a man that fit the description of the the suspect. It was crappy and intimidating as we ate lunch in the park with our kids.”

Update, 4 p.m. BPD spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel, in response to a Berkeleyside query, said an officer en route to the stabbing was involved in a collision with another vehicle at University Avenue and Acton Street.

(The photograph above was taken at about 6:45 p.m. Photographer Daniel McPartlan said police were in the process of setting up flares and blocking off access to the area with other cruisers as he was taking the picture.)

The officer had his lights and sirens sounding when the collision occurred, said Frankel. The officer was treated at the scene and released. The other driver was taken by ambulance to Kaiser Oakland for a complaint of pain. No further information was provided about the timing of the crash.

Update, July 12, 1:20 p.m. BPD said the crash happened hours after the park stabbing — and was unrelated to it — when an officer was responding to a report of a female with a knife who was brandishing it and trying to stab someone. Authorities later determined that the events described in that report had not taken place, said Lt. Kevin Schofield, a department spokesman. No further information was provided. (The caption above was also updated at the time this clarification was added.)

Police ask any additional witnesses to call the BPD Homicide Detail at 510-981-5900. This story was updated after publication with information about a crash involving a police cruiser, witness information from the scene, and BPD contact information.

Police: Berkeley double stabbing was unprovoked (03.24.16)
Man arrested after double stabbing in West Berkeley (03.22.16)
1 man cut, 1 stabbed in 2 mysterious Berkeley assaults (02.22.16)
Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Dec. 3-9 (12.26.15)
Police make arrest after homeless camp stabbing (12.03.15)

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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 of the Year...