Berkeley police recovered nearly 8 pounds of marijuana and a handgun after responding to gunfire near campus Saturday. Photo: BPD

Authorities have charged a man from Pittsburg and a man from Antioch with firing a gun in the Southside neighborhood near UC Berkeley over the weekend, according to court records and police.

Carlos Rafael Vallejo-Pineda, 23, of Pittsburg and Joshua Trey Kellogg, 24, of Antioch were charged Tuesday by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with two felony counts: negligent discharge of a firearm with gross negligence and carrying a loaded firearm. There’s also a special allegation that the loaded gun was unregistered. No one was wounded in the shooting.

According to Berkeley police, officers responded just after 2 a.m. Saturday to the 2500 block of Durant Avenue, near Bowditch Street, for a report of gunfire in the area. Police detained four people near a Nissan sedan in a private off-street parking lot on the south side of Durant near Bowditch, according to BPD. Officers found bullet casings on the ground nearby. According to court papers, UC Berkeley’s gunfire detection system picked up eight gunshots.

During a search, police found nearly 8 pounds of marijuana in the Nissan, along with cash and a handgun, as well as “items commonly used in selling drugs,” said Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman, in a statement. He said Tuesday that police do not know why the gun was fired.

According to court papers, police discovered the marijuana and gun inside “numerous duffle bags and backpacks.” Police said Vallejo-Pineda intially told police all the bags were his, then later reversed his story about the bag that held the gun: He told police “he did not know how the bag or firearm got into his vehicle,” according to court papers.

Evidence indicates both men fired the gun near campus, according to court documents. Vallejo-Pineda told police he shot the gun “into the dirt.” And a witness told police Kellogg fired into the air, police wrote. Vallejo-Pineda “shook his head no” when police asked him if he was the only person to fire the weapon, according to BPD.

Police arrested Vallejo-Pineda and Kellogg in connection with drug violations and Saturday’s gunfire. White said two other people who were detained and arrested were released with a citation related to public intoxication and obstructing a police investigation.

On Friday, UCPD received reports of 10 gunshots in three locations near campus, including one in the same block of Durant Avenue as Saturday’s arrest.

White said investigators do not believe Saturday’s gunfire was related to the gunshots Friday.

Neither Vallejo-Pineda nor Kellogg have criminal convictions, according to court papers. Their next court date was not listed as of publication time. Bail amounts and in-custody status were also unavailable.

Gunfire in Berkeley in 2019

Berkeleyside has reported on seven gunfire calls in Berkeley in 2019. One person was wounded in one of the shootings. Berkeleyside has asked BPD for a complete list. A map of the known incidents appears below.

On Jan. 26, officers responded to King and 62nd streets in South Berkeley just after 2:20 a.m. for reports of gunfire in the area. Police found bullet casings nearby in the 1600 block of 62nd. There were no reported victims.

On Jan. 27, police recovered multiple casings at Oregon and Park streets, near San Pablo Park in South Berkeley, after what was later classified as a gang-related shooting. There were no reported victims. Police said, in court papers, they identified one suspect in the case. He was not charged with the shooting.

On Feb. 1, a 21-year-old man was shot multiple times at Derby and Grant streets in South Berkeley just before 1:15 p.m. No one has been charged, according to available court records.

On Feb. 21, police arrested a man just before 6 p.m. in the 900 block of Heinz Avenue in West Berkeley after he reportedly shot at his own van. The 47-year-old Gulf War veteran, who had a PhD in philosophy, died in March after getting punched in the face at Santa Rita Jail, according to authorities. The man was in the process of being transferred to a diversion program for veterans. The sheriff’s office called it “a very bizarre series of events.”

On March 1, police arrested a Berkeley Hills resident at Middlefield and Park Hills roads after getting a report about a gunshot there. He was charged with possession of a firearm and remains in custody.

On April 12, UC Berkeley police received reports of 10 gunshots at three Southside locations near campus. There were no reported victims or arrests.

On April 13 (as noted in the story above), officers responded just after 2 a.m. to the 2500 block of Durant Avenue, near Bowditch Street, in the Southside neighborhood and arrested two men in connection with gunfire.

There were no homicides in Berkeley in 2018, but the number of confirmed shootings increased from 15 in 2017 to 20 in 2018, police reported in March. BPD classified at least 12 of the cases as gang-related and said arrests were made in seven of them.

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...