Berkeley police investigators have had a busy week, handling not only the first homicide of 2017, but also making an arrest in the city’s last homicide of 2016.
Thursday, police arrested a 19-year-old in connection with the fatal shooting Sept. 22 at Fairview and Harper streets in South Berkeley.
That shooting took the life of another 19-year-old, Gregory Ignacio Jr., who BPD previously identified as Ignacio Francis Jr.
BPD confirmed Friday evening that investigators have a suspect in custody in the Ignacio case. Police did not release his name due to the ongoing investigation.
Ignacio was fatally shot nearly four months ago around 7:30 p.m. while standing with a group at Harper and Fairview, police said previously. The shooting was not random. There was a verbal dispute and one young man started shooting. Ignacio was hit and he was declared dead upon arriving at Highland Hospital in Oakland.
“He was a good friend, he was always there for us,” a friend at a vigil for the young man told Berkeleyside in September. “He was a good person. He was not a street person.”
The killing was the second homicide of 2016. The first happened Aug. 18 when Alex Goodwin Jr., 22, was shot just before midnight near Mabel and Burnett streets. He died early the next day at Highland. No suspects have been arrested in connection with his death.
According to sheriff’s office records, the teenager was arrested at 2 p.m. Thursday and was carrying a concealed, loaded gun. According to records online, he was previously convicted of burglary. He was taken into custody at Berkeley Way and Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley.
The young man was booked into Berkeley Jail at 8:25 a.m. Friday, and is being held without bail.
He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning for arraignment in Department 112 at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse. During arraignment, a defendant is advised by the court of the charges against him.
The other Berkeley homicide suspect taken into custody in the past week, 22-year-old UC Berkeley student Pablo Gomez Jr., is set to appear in the same courtroom Tuesday morning, also for arraignment.
For a city with so few homicides, having defendants in two separate cases scheduled to be arraigned during the same session is extremely rare.
Police asked anyone with information about the Ignacio killing to call homicide investigators at 510-981-5741 or BPD’s 24-hour non-emergency line at 510-981-5900. People wishing to remain anonymous can call Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
[Note: The name of the suspect was removed from this story due to the ongoing investigation. Berkeleyside will continue to follow the case.]