The arrest took place outside a Humboldt County mall early Friday morning. Credit: Google Maps
Rahila Jarrett. Credit: Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office

Nine hours after leading officers on a chase through the Berkeley Hills, authorities in Humboldt County arrested a woman they say had claimed to be a federal agent and tried to hit four people in Berkeley with her car.

The California Highway Patrol (Garberville Area) arrested Rahila Jarrett, 48, of El Cerrito just before 2:25 a.m. Friday. She had blown out two of her tires on spike strips set up by police in Eureka and eventually surrendered outside Bayshore Mall in that city, authorities said.

Berkeley police had begun to pursue Jarrett just after 5:30 p.m. Thursday following reports that she had a gun and may have tried to strike several people with her car. The chase made its way from Berkeley into Kensington, with Jarrett largely following all traffic laws aside from pulling over for officers, police said. In El Cerrito, BPD said, police called off the chase in the interest of safety and because they knew who Jarrett was.

After the pursuit, BPD put out advisories to other law enforcement agencies to watch out for her. Jarrett, according to emergency dispatch recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside, had been linked by police to a shooting in Oakland last year and was also wanted in connection with a Contra Costa County warrant related to possession of a loaded firearm and failure to appear in court.

According to the CHP, the Mendocino County sheriff’s office began to pursue Jarrett on the freeway after seeing Berkeley’s advisory to be on the lookout for her and her Ford Taurus in connection with a felony warrant.

Available details were slim, but the CHP said police in Eureka had been able to get in position early Friday morning to put out multiple “spike strips,” which popped two of Jarrett’s tires. She pulled over near the mall, at 3300 Broadway St., but initially refused to get out of her car, the CHP said.

“After some time,” the CHP said, Jarrett did surrender to authorities and was taken into custody on suspicion of evasion and impersonating a police officer, according to booking records online.

Jarrett remains in custody in Humboldt County Correctional Facility in Eureka, according to those records.

Jarrett’s booking photograph was not immediately available because she remained in a sobering cell Friday night and had not been photographed, a Humboldt County sheriff’s sergeant told Berkeleyside.

Jarrett had been arrested in Berkeley almost a year ago on suspicion of fleeing from police and driving with “a willful or wanton disregard” for safety, according to arrest records reviewed by Berkeleyside. But she was never charged, according to Alameda County court records.

Jarrett has no criminal convictions in Alameda County, records show.

After local residents on Queens Road called police Thursday evening to report a woman with a gun on her waist claiming to be a federal agent, according to dispatch recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside, Jarrett took off in her Ford at a “high rate of speed,” and was initially driving in reverse, witnesses told police.

When officers arrived, Jarrett was still driving in reverse, although she turned around not long afterward, according to dispatch traffic. Officers followed Jarrett onto La Loma and she eventually took Euclid Avenue up to Grizzly Peak Boulevard, police said.

Officers largely reported speeds ranging from 15-40 mph during the pursuit, with little to no traffic along the route, according to the recordings.

After following Jarrett through Kensington and El Cerrito, BPD called off the pursuit at about 5:55 p.m. just before San Pablo Avenue in the area of Stockton Avenue.

BPD’s pursuit policy allows officers to initiate a pursuit in the case of a violent crime resulting in serious bodily injury; a violent crime involving the use of a deadly weapon; or when there is a credible threat of those outcomes.

Berkeleyside will update this story if additional information becomes available.

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...