Police recovered this sword during an arrest in Berkeley last week. Photo: BPD

Police arrested a 48-year-old man near a homeless encampment on Gilman Street in West Berkeley last week after he was reportedly “slashing tents with a sword” and brandishing the weapon at people inside the tents, authorities report.

The arrested man was identified as Manuel Ayala, who has no listed permanent home address, BPD said. Police confiscated a 3-foot sword during the arrest.

Police were called to Gilman Street west of the railroad tracks Thursday at about 3:10 p.m.

“As officers were en route, the suspect fled the scene. Additional witnesses reported that the suspect was still carrying the sword and slashing at objects as he walked eastbound on Gilman Street,” police said in a statement released using the Nixle alert system.

Officers confronted Ayala on Gilman, between Fifth and Sixth streets, where they found him threatening another person with the sword, BPD said.

“He had the sword in a raised position and was near the intended victim,” according to police.

Officers used a “less than lethal” launcher to fire multiple plastic rounds at Ayala, causing him to “stop his advance on the potential victim and drop the sword.”

Police took Ayala into custody and later found that he had hit a woman, back at the tents, with the sword, BPD said. The woman declined medical aid. Ayala was arrested on suspicion of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Police said a man with a sword slashed tents during an assault last week. Photo: BPD

Police said the man Ayala was threatening when officers found him was an associate of the woman.

Ayala remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office.

He has been charged with two misdemeanors: assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism causing less than $400 in damage. His next court date was not listed.

Ayala is being held on $10,000 bail.

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...