A 40-year-old Berkeley man has been charged with two felonies in connection with Sunday’s eight-hour standoff on Parker Street, according to court papers.
Nathan Hohmann was charged Wednesday with assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse.
The victim in the case was a 70-year-old man who had been helping the homeowner of the property where Hohmann resides, in the 2300 block of Parker Street, move some items Sunday. During the attack, the victim sustained slashing injuries to both hands and one leg, requiring 30 stitches, according to court papers. Police wrote that the man also reported a loss of function in several of his fingers.
Authorities in Berkeley said, in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry, that they had been to Hohmann’s residence before. That included a visit the day of the attack. Officers responded to Hohmann’s three-story house on Parker, between Dana and Ellsworth streets, to help Berkeley firefighters with a debris fire that had been reported outside the house Sunday at about 9:20 a.m.
“Based on previous calls for service involving a resident at that location (known to be armed with knives, trained in martial arts and unstable), it was necessary for officers to be present for security,” said Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman, Thursday.
When they got there, police found a “small pile of smoldering discarded property with a can of lighter fluid next to it” on the lawn, White said. “After the fire was extinguished, officers knocked on the front door to contact the resident and the resident did not answer.”
That fire is now being investigated as arson, White added.
Later in the day, shortly before 5:50 p.m., police say Hohmann confronted the 70-year-old man with “what was described as a 2 foot long stick with a four inch sickle of scythe blade,” police wrote in court documents.
Hohmann then chased the older man up a flight of stairs, according to police. The men ended up on a fenced-in porch. The 70-year-old had nowhere to go, police wrote, as Hohman pushed toward him “thrusting the sickle in a stabbing motion from a few feet away.”
The 70-year-old escaped by jumping off the porch after being cut on the hands and leg, police wrote. The man then ran from the residence to safety. The Berkeley Fire Department treated him at the scene then took him to Alta Bates Hospital, where he got stitches.
According to police, Hohmann ran inside his house and barricaded himself there. Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood said, during a city meeting Wednesday night, that officers ultimately found him hiding on an external deck behind the house. They used less-lethal projectiles to take him into custody.
Police took Hohmann to Alta Bates for a medical check, then took him to Berkeley Jail. Police said they found the weapon that had been used in the attack during a search of Hohmann’s house and booked it into evidence.
The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Hohmann on Wednesday. He remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $180,000. He is scheduled to enter a plea next Wednesday at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland. The charges against Hohmann include special allegations that he caused great bodily injury to an elderly victim and that Hohmann used a knife in the attack. If convicted, he could be sent to prison.
Hohmann’s LinkedIn page describes him as a longtime Pilates instructor and a certified Integral Coach. He used to have a business on Kains Avenue in Albany called Source For Wellness Health Center, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“I move, therefore I am,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “Through contact, empathy, and resonance I am here to enable and encourage all of us to move freely and joyfully, both as individuals and as us.”
Writing in the Berkeleyside comments, former employer June Kamerling said Hohmann “worked at my Pilates studio for many years until recently when he had a psychotic break (looking back there were several red flags in the last year) and I could not work with him any longer. He was becoming more and more manic and paranoid. In past years, though a bit odd, he was a brilliant and creative instructor and well loved by all of his clients. This is very sad and scary.”
Some of Hohmann’s friends noted recently on Facebook that his posts were becoming increasingly strange. “I’m seeing your posts, don’t know what to make of them, and I am worried,” one wrote. “Are you okay, my friend?”
“Indeed,” wrote another, “they are a little off-kilter.”
On May 11, Hohmann posted a photograph of a burned book — The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida — on a wooden deck, writing, “Finally finished that mofo off the way I should have 10yrs ago.”
In April, he posted a photograph of a poster with a pencil rubbing on it, writing, “If anybody’s interested Banksy hired me to show him around UC Berkeley campus for a couple weeks and he did some really great work. He gave me one of his original prints – the rest will be burned in a dumpster fire next time Milo comes to town.”
Hohmann made his last public post on Sunday at 9:39 a.m. after firefighters came to his home with the Berkeley Police Department. The photo shows two firefighters walking near a firetruck. Hohmann did not caption the post but he made it his profile photograph.