Police in Berkeley arrested two men over the weekend in connection with separate gun-related incidents: a recent brandishing call and an instance of gunfire in August.
Early Sunday, at 1:10 a.m., police responded to the 1600 block of Ashby Avenue (near California Street) for a traffic collision, said Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman, in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry. The investigation led to the arrest of motorist Juan Garcia, 23, of Berkeley on suspicion of driving under the influence. During the stop, police learned Garcia had a warrant for his arrest in connection with gunfire near the UC Berkeley campus in August.
In that incident, a police officer in the 2500 block of Durant Avenue (near Telegraph Avenue) heard gunfire coming from a parking lot on Durant near Bowditch Street. When the officer got there, White said, he found seven men in the parking lot and bullet casings on the ground. Police detained the men, who were intoxicated, and found an abandoned handgun in the parking lot as well as damage from gunfire to a nearby building. No injuries were reported.
Police later identified Garcia as the shooter and obtained a warrant for his arrest, according to White. (He was among those detained at the scene.) Garcia remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in connection with both cases and has a combined bail of $340,000. He is scheduled for arraignment in the DUI case Wednesday at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin, followed by arraignment Thursday at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland in the shooting case.
According to BPD, there have been about 20 incidents of gunfire in 2019. Berkeleyside has mapped many of them.
The other gun-related arrest took place Sunday afternoon in the 1200 block of Haskell Street (near San Pablo Avenue) after a man was described as having brandished a gun in the area. Police responded to the block at about 3 p.m., said White.
“According to witnesses, the man was sitting on his porch when he pointed a gun at a person walking — threatening to shoot them,” White said. Officers surrounded the home and used a loudspeaker to tell the man to come outside.
One reader saw the police activity and told Berkeleyside that Haskell was completely “blocked off with swat cars.”
The man came outside in response to the loudspeaker commands, White said, and was arrested without further incident. Inside the home, officers found a loaded handgun, a loaded shotgun, an unloaded rifle, ammunition and a cane sword.
The man, who is 74 years old and may suffer from dementia, is not in custody and did not appear to have been charged as of publication time, according to court records online.