Police responded to gunfire Friday night outside downtown Berkeley’s Cornerstone bar and concert venue following a disturbance involving patrons inside the bar, authorities report.
Candace Wang was at the bar with friends at about 11:30 p.m. when security guards suddenly began herding everyone inside, Wang told Berkeleyside.
Hear the announcement in the video at the top of the story
“There’s an active shooter situation where someone threatened to bring a gun,” a staff member told the crowd, according to video Wang shared. “Just stay in here. Do not anybody go outside. We’ll have it sorted out in a minute.”
Wang said the announcement was both scary and surreal: “Some people just thought it was kind of a joke and were not taking it seriously. Some people started getting really scared and started calling family.”
Berkeley Police Lt. Veronica Rodrigues told Berkeleyside that a bar patron who was asked to leave after threatening staff returned moments later and fired shots into the air while standing outside Cornerstone, which is located at 2367 Shattuck Ave. (at Durant Avenue). The shooter then drove away as police responded.
Officers stopped one vehicle on Shattuck Avenue that matched the initial description of the shooter’s vehicle, Rodrigues said. It turned out not to be related to the gunfire investigation and the driver was released.
There were initial reports that someone had been wounded in the shooting, Rodrigues said, but police found no victims at the scene. Calls to local hospitals turned up no victims either, she said.
Police remained at the scene taking witness statements and collecting evidence as of about 12:30 a.m. Saturday.
Wang, the Cornerstone patron, said initial reports were somewhat confusing. There was no concert Friday night, she said, but there were quite a few people hanging out at the bar.
Some said no shooting had happened, but “a lot of people heard a couple of bangs,” she said. “We were trying to figure out where it was coming from so we could move away from that direction.”
Initially, none of the patrons were allowed to go outside, Wang said. When she and her friends were released, bar staff reassured them that it was safe: “Don’t worry, there’s a lot of police on site,” staff told them.
Wang said there were at least five police cruisers parked in the area when she and her friends headed home around midnight.
Shootings have been on the rise in Berkeley since 2018: There have already been twice as many this year as there were in 2020. Berkeley has had at least 14 confirmed gunfire calls this year.