A roundup of some of the most serious recent crimes in Berkeley appears below. Email Berkeleyside with your public safety questions. Defendants are presumed innocent.
POLICE SEEK HELP TO SOLVE COLD CASE MURDER On the anniversary of a Berkeley man’s killing, police reminded the public of the $50,000 reward they hope will help bring his killer or killers to justice. Police say anyone providing information that leads to the “arrest and conviction of all responsible suspects in the murder” of Tobias Eagle may be eligible for the reward. Eleven years ago, on March 8, 2011, the 30-year-old Berkeley native was shot to death in his backyard in the 1600 block of Blake Street, near McGee Avenue, in central Berkeley.
“Detectives believe there are individuals with information about this case and are asking for their help. Even the smallest detail could be critical in solving this crime,” BPD said in a statement on the anniversary. This is the third year police have offered the $50,000 reward.
Police ask anyone with information that could help close the case to call the BPD Homicide Unit at 510-981-5741 or BPD’s 24-hour non-emergency number at 510-981-5900.
CARJACKING AT NORTH BERKELEY BART Authorities are investigating the assault and carjacking at gunpoint of a 44-year-old Berkeley man at the North Berkeley BART station March 1. According to BART PD, the attack happened in the station parking lot at 8:45 p.m. A BART spokesperson said the assailant struck the man on the back of the head and took his 2015 Subaru Outback. Police recovered the vehicle several days later.
The investigation remains open and no arrests have been made, BART said Tuesday in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry.
A local resident familiar with the incident shared the following description with Berkeleyside but requested anonymity due to the nature of the case: “The victim tried to grab the gun from the suspect, and they struggled over the gun. While they were both holding it, the victim was able to pull the trigger and fire all the rounds into the ground so that the suspect wouldn’t be able to shoot the victim. The suspect eventually gained control of the gun, pistol-whipped the victim, and jumped into the victim’s car and drove away.”
The resident said the man who had been attacked was left “shaken but was otherwise OK. A bystander called 911, and between the firing of the shots and the arrival of the police, no one else seemed to be around.”
POLICE: DICE GAME FIGHT SPARKED SHOOTING A San Leandro man who was convicted in 2018 of shooting into a home near San Pablo Park is back in jail this month facing allegations that he shot an 18-year-old man in the leg during a dice game near Sacramento Market in South Berkeley in January. Anthony McCurty, 42, has been charged with shooting the younger man in addition to being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to court papers.
Police wrote in court documents that a fight had broken out between two groups of people playing dice near the market, at 2960 Sacramento St., on Jan. 17. The shooting was captured on high-definition security footage, according to charging papers: During the fight, “McCurty retrieved a loaded handgun that was concealed on his person and shot the victim in the leg. The victim’s associate then got into a … shoot out with McCurty.”
Bullets struck the teenager — who was able to get himself to the hospital — as well as a parked vehicle and building, police wrote. On March 2, the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force arrested McCurty at his home in San Leandro, according to court records: “Detectives served a search warrant and recovered a loaded and unregistered firearm, hidden at the residence.”
Police wrote in court papers that McCurty has prior arrests in connection with attempted murder, shootings, drug sales, gun possession and domestic violence. He has prior convictions in Alameda, San Francisco and San Mateo counties dating back to 1998.
In 2018, according to court papers, McCurty was sentenced to seven years in prison for the shooting near San Pablo Park, but he was released in July 2020 “due to early COVID release.”
McCurty is scheduled for a bail hearing Monday at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland. Berkeley has had seven confirmed gunfire calls in 2022: One was fatal and two left teenagers wounded.
TRAFFIC STOP LEADS TO GUN SEIZURE A felon on probation is facing new criminal charges following a traffic stop in Berkeley in February, authorities reported in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry. On Feb. 23 just before 3 a.m., a BPD officer “pulled over a vehicle for a traffic violation” on San Pablo Avenue and Harrison Street in northwest Berkeley. The officer searched the vehicle and found ammunition, according to BPD, which the driver — 42-year-old Ismael Gonzalez of Berkeley — was not legally allowed to possess because he was on probation.
After finding the ammunition, police searched the man’s home and found a handgun, BB gun, stun gun and ballistic vest, along with methamphetamine, cocaine and more ammunition, BPD said.
According to court records, the DA’s office charged Gonzalez with possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, along with multiple sentencing enhancements. Gonzalez has eight felony convictions dating back to 2001 including multiple counts of gun possession by a felon, vehicle theft and burglary. His latest gun possession conviction, in November 2020, landed him on probation for five years.
Gonzalez remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $210,000. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 23 at Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.
AFTER VANDALISM SPREE, MAN HIT WITH 9 FELONIES A man caught on video in West Berkeley breaking and kicking out vehicle side mirrors, ripping out a business’s water sprinkler and throwing a rock through another business’s window has been charged with a raft of felonies in connection with the allegations, according to BPD.
Police say 39-year-old Tim Kelm confessed to “being the vandal in the area and stated he kicked side mirrors out because he was angry at being homeless and having his girlfriend leave him.” According to court papers, Kelm had previously been “provided services by the city and placed in a motel room … which he also destroyed.”
According to BPD, Kelm focused on businesses and vehicles around Ninth and Harrison streets. The incidents to which he confessed and identified himself in security footage, police said, took place between Jan. 18 and Feb. 6, when he was arrested.
“Kelm has shown little propensity to be able to stop and control himself due to his self-admitted anger issues,” BPD wrote in court papers. “There is an excess of at least 10 additional victim vehicles vandalized in the same manner in which Kelm is suspected of but not captured on video.”
According to court records, Kelm remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $100,000. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 23 at René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.
19-YEAR-OLD CHARGED WITH ARMED ROBBERIES IN TWO CITIES An Oakland man has been charged with the armed robbery of five people in Berkeley and Oakland, and police say they have linked him to numerous other incidents, including an armed carjacking in Oakland in July of last year.
Police say Malachi Bullock — along with associates who have not been named or charged — robbed their victims of wedding rings, a Rolex watch and a Chanel purse, among other possessions. The crimes took place in July 2021 and January of this year, according to court papers.
On July 18, 2021, according to OPD, Bullock and another person — both armed with guns — confronted two people in downtown Oakland at 7:50 p.m. and robbed them of their belongings. The pair fled in a black Mercedes, according to OPD, then committed a carjacking on International Boulevard 10 minutes later.
The next day, OPD wrote in court documents, police found the carjacking vehicle along with a gun and clothing inside. A subsequent forensic analysis found Bullock’s fingerprints in the vehicle, police wrote. In October 2021, when the fingerprint analysis came back, OPD issued a warrant for Bullock’s arrest, according to charging papers. During the investigation, one witness picked him out of a lineup but others did not, OPD said.
BPD later linked Bullock to three robberies in Berkeley in January, according to court papers. On Jan. 2, police wrote, two people with guns robbed a family of three at 3:20 p.m. in the 1900 block of Fourth Street, near Hearst Avenue, taking the Rolex and Chanel bag. The moments before and after the armed robbery were captured on surveillance video, police wrote.
According to BPD, the same crew — two men with guns along with their getaway driver — forcibly took wedding rings and other property from community members in Berkeley on Jan. 22, at Virginia and Oxford streets, and on Jan. 24 in the 1300 block of Henry Street. Both robberies took place around the noon hour in the North Shattuck area.
BPD arrested Bullock on Feb. 3, according to court records. OPD spoke with him after his arrest, police wrote, and Bullock placed himself inside the carjacking vehicle holding a gun and also at the scene of the robbery just prior.
Ultimately, the DA’s office charged Bullock with armed robberies July 18, 2021, and Jan. 2, along with a number of sentencing enhancements. He has no prior convictions, according to court records. Bullock remains in custody with a bail of $525,000 and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 23 at Wiley Manuel Courthouse.
AFTER CAR STOP, MAN CHARGED WITH DRUG DEALING A man police pulled over in February, at Fourth and Jones streets, on suspicion of vehicle code violations has been charged with felony drug sales, according to court papers reviewed by Berkeleyside.
When officers pulled over 40-year-old Ronnie Brooks (no address), they determined he was on probation and had a felony warrant for his arrest for burglary, court records show.
Police searched Brooks and his backpack and found more than 33 grams of suspected methamphetamine, nearly $500 in cash, a digital scale, methamphetamine pipes, plastic baggies and a stun gun baton, police wrote, items that “were consistent with street level drug sales.”
It was Brooks’ fifth arrest related to drug sales, according to charging papers. Brooks has three burglary convictions from cases in 2016 and 2018. The 2016 case sent him to prison while the more recent conviction landed him on probation, according to charging papers. One of the convictions counted as a strike.
Brooks remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $130,000, according to jail records online. He is scheduled for his preliminary hearing — where a judge decides whether a case will proceed to trial — on March 16 at Wiley Manuel Courthouse.
SEX CRIME ARREST ON TELEGRAPH Police arrested a man reported to have grabbed a woman’s chest after she refused to give him money on Telegraph Avenue, authorities report. On March 1 shortly before 1 p.m., a woman in her 30s parked on Telegraph near Carleton Street and went to pay the meter.
As she stood there, according to BPD, a stranger approached and asked her for money. When she told him no, BPD said, the man walked by her and grabbed her chest. The woman pushed the man off of her and he walked away.
Arriving officers located the suspect, identified as 40-year-old Marco Guiza (no address), and arrested him. During the detention, according to BPD, Guiza “dropped a baggie of methamphetamine (2+ grams—about 10 personal doses) on the sidewalk.”
The DA’s office charged Guiza on March 2 with sexual battery and possession of a controlled substance, according to court records online. He remains in custody and is being held without bail. The case status is listed as “suspended,” and Guiza has a hearing set for April 6.
Guiza has six criminal cases in Alameda County Superior Court dating back to 2020 that are listed as suspended, and four cases dating back to 2019 that were dismissed as part of a plea deal. In 2018, he was convicted of campus disruption and placed on three years of probation.
Just before his probation ended, he was convicted of battery and the obstruction of business owners or customers — both misdemeanors — and placed on probation again, through February of this year.
MAN TAKES PLEA DEAL IN SEXUAL BATTERY CASE A man police say touched a woman’s chest in the doorway of a Delaware Street apartment building in January pled to an assault charge and was placed on probation, according to court records.
On Jan. 10 at 2:10 p.m., a woman in her 20s was standing in the doorway of the apartment building, in the 2000 block of Delaware Street, when a man walked up to her and touched her chest with his hands, according to court papers.
“When the woman told the suspect that she was calling the police, the suspect backed away,” police wrote. When officers arrived, they found the man — identified as 33-year-old Chiazo Onwuasoeze Jr. (no address) — still outside the apartment building and arrested him. Police also found three debit or credit cards in his possession, BPD wrote.
On Jan. 11, the DA’s office charged Onwuasoeze with sexual battery and fraudulent possession of personal information, both misdemeanors, according to court records. On Jan. 31, Onwuasoeze entered a no-contest plea to a different misdemeanor charge — assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.
The other two charges were dismissed and Onwuasoeze was placed on probation until January 2023. He is no longer in custody.
Crime reports from UC Berkeley
- Feb. 18: UCPD said two armed robberies via gun took place at around 12:10 a.m. by the same group of people: “There were three suspects that were in a vehicle. A rear passenger exited the vehicle and approached the victims with a black handgun. The suspects left the area westbound on Haste.” The first incident was in the 2400 block of Haste Street; a purse was taken. The next robbery took place at Haste and Ellsworth Street; UCPD did not publish what was taken.
- Feb. 18: UCPD began getting multiple calls about the sound of “loud reports” — possible gunfire — at Doe Library at 6:35 p.m.: “There were more than 50 callers reporting multiple sounds of popping noises, sounds of windows shattering, and people jumping out of windows.” UCPD officers responded and began to search the area. Berkeley police and firefighters also responded to help, as per agency protocol: “Officers thoroughly searched the area and it was determined there was no active shooter incident. The loud reports were determined to be from students who were popping balloons as part of a game.” UCPD said three people “who heard the initial popping sounds, and believed them to be gunfire, escaped via a glass door.” They sustained minor injuries from broken glass and were treated at the scene.
- March 3: At 5:25 a.m., two people in a large SUV-style vehicle “intentionally backed the vehicle up into a rollup door” at Clark Kerr Campus, causing damage, UCPD said. The front passenger then got out the SUV and tried to enter the building “but was interrupted.” The driver then left in an unknown direction.
Learn about crime reports in your neighborhood on CrimeMapping.com. The city of Berkeley also posts six months of calls for service on its website, but the data has not been updated since June 2021. (Berkeleyside has asked BPD about a fix.) The department posts 30 days of arrest data online as well as data from all of its police stops. Sign up for AC Alert, Nixle and UC Berkeley’s WarnMe system to get public safety notifications.