Berkeley Bowl West (file photo). Photo: Daniel Gies

Berkeley police are investigating the shooting of a 19-year-old man near the intersection of Heinz Avenue and Ninth Street in front of dozens of people who were shopping at Berkeley Bowl West.

Police responded to reports of a man shot in the leg at 2:51 p.m. Saturday, according to Berkeley Police Lt. Robert Rittenhouse. Berkeley firefighters treated the victim at the scene and later transported him to the hospital. His wound is not life-threatening, said Rittenhouse.

The assailant is still at large.

City Councilmember Terry Taplin was on his way to buy food when the shooting happened around 2:45 p.m., he said.

“I was biking to the Bowl on Ninth,” said Taplin. “I got to Ecole Bilingue (on Heinz). I heard a popping sound. I saw a man run down Ninth and get into a van and drive away.”

Taplin said the man who got in the van appeared to be the shooter.

Witnesses believe the man at the right of the photo shot another man on Saturday at Ninth Street and Heinz. Shortly after this photo was taken, the man got in a van and drove away. Credit: Citizen reporter

Andrew Talbot had just finished shopping when he heard the popping sound. He saw two men right next to Berkeley Bowl West at Ninth and Heinz. One fell down and the other turned around and walked briskly down Ninth Street.

“He put something in his waistband and he got in the van and drove off,” said Talbot. “The van had no plates.”

Taplin described the van as being burnt orange-red.

The man who was shot in the leg hobbled west on Heinz toward Seventh Street, said Talbot.

There were 10 to 20 people in the vicinity of the shooting, said Talbot. Taplin said he was glad it happened on a weekend rather than on a weekday when the elementary school was open.

Taplin, who represents parts of West Berkeley, has made public safety one of his top priorities. But this is the first time he has been so close to a shooting and said the experience was “traumatic.”

“Is this going to be life for us? Any time you go out on the weekend there’s going to be a shooting?” he said.

Berkeley has had seven other shootings this year, one of which killed a man and two that left people wounded.

Berkeleyside will update this story if more information becomes available.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...