Douglas Labat booking photo. Credit: BPD
Douglas Labat. Credit: BPD

A 5-year-old boy walking with his mother on Telegraph Avenue near Whole Foods was accosted in South Berkeley last week by a stranger who threatened to hurt him, police said Thursday.

The mother and child, who live in Oakland, took refuge in the grocery store after the man grabbed the boy’s arm, according to the Berkeley Police Department, and “made a threat to bash the child’s head in.”

Officers found the man, identified as 27-year-old Douglas Labat (no address), and arrested him nearby, according to BPD. This week, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Labat with a felony related to threatening to hurt the child.

The incident began Aug. 30 at 8:30 a.m. when the mother and son were walking near Telegraph and Ashby avenues, police said Thursday in a prepared statement. A stranger approached them and “began an unrecognizable rant” before grabbing the boy’s arm, according to BPD.

The mother pulled the boy away from the man, who then threatened to hurt the child, BPD said. The pair “ran to the safety of a nearby grocery store and called for help.”

Responding officers found Labat a half-mile away, at Benvenue Avenue and Stuart Street in the Elmwood neighborhood, and arrested him on suspicion of battery and making criminal threats, police said.

On Tuesday, the DA’s office charged Labat with the felony of making criminal threats, according to court records online.

Labat, who is unemployed, remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with a bail of $50,000, according to jail records online. His attorney has filed a motion to have his bail reduced and he is scheduled for that hearing Sept. 20.

The latest allegations appear to be Labat’s first felony case in Alameda County, but he has an array of misdemeanor charges dating back to 2013, according to court records online.

Those charges include two separate misdemeanor cases from earlier this year related to allegations of battery in April and, in June, of vandalism over $400 and intimidation or obstruction of a business or customers.

The battery case was listed to have been resolved with “deferred prosecution” and the June case appears to have been dismissed as part of the April plea deal, according to court records online.

Featured photo: The Telegraph Avenue Whole Foods in Berkeley. Credit: Google Street View

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...