Police investigate gunfire in the 1500 block of Alcatraz Avenue near California Street, May 13, 2022. Credit: Citizen reporter
Click the image to see the 2022 Berkeley gunfire map.

There have been 32 shootings in Berkeley this year, leaving two people dead and 10 wounded. Berkeleyside has updated its 2022 gunfire map to reflect everything we know.

The statistics stand in sharp contrast to last year at this time, when there had been 22 incidents of gunfire: Two had left people wounded but none had been fatal.

Here’s a look at the latest information we have regarding shooting investigations in Berkeley in 2022. BPD asks anyone with tips about any of these cases to call the Homicide Unit at 510-981-5741.

Gunfire near Fourth Street after catalytic converter theft attempt

A pair of would-be catalytic converter thieves, who were caught in the act by workers on Fourth Street, fired a gun at them before fleeing the area last week, authorities report.

On July 26, a man leaving his job at a local restaurant was walking on the west side of Fourth Street, near 715 Hearst Ave., at 9:20 p.m. “when he heard the sound of a loud saw” coming from a nearby parking lot. Police said the man saw two people near a van “who appeared to be cutting off the van’s catalytic converter.”

The man yelled at the pair and they drove off in a gray pickup truck, police said. He then ran over to Fourth Street and flagged down a security guard.

The two men returned to the parking lot to take a closer look. Moments later, according to police, the pickup truck returned. The driver stopped 10-15 feet from the workers and someone rolled down the passenger-side window. Police said one of the truck occupants then pointed a gun and fired it at the workers, who ran away — scared but unharmed.

Witnesses described the driver as a Hispanic man in his 30s, 5 feet 8 inches tall with a heavy build, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts. The passenger was described as a Hispanic woman in her 20s wearing all dark clothing and a face covering.

Woman charged after freeway road-rage shooting

A Tracy woman has been charged with multiple felonies after she fired a gun at a mother and her 6-year-old son following a road-rage incident on Interstate 80, according to court papers.

The incident took place May 16 and began on I-80 near the Ashby Avenue off-ramp at about 5:30 p.m.

According to police, Lizbeth Rodriguez-Naranjo fired three rounds into the air during the initial incident, then drove away. The driver of the other vehicle then followed Rodriguez-Naranjo onto Folger Avenue near Hollis Street where, police said, Rodriguez-Naranjo fired her gun twice, this time toward the other vehicle.

Lizbeth Rodriguez-Naranjo. Credit: BPD

Police responded but Rodriguez-Naranjo had already left, BPD said. Detectives identified her through their investigation, however, and arrested the 32-year-old woman in Oakland on June 24.

During the arrest, police said they found a Polymer80 9mm handgun in Rodriguez-Naranjo’s purse and 16 grams of suspected methamphetamine.

Initially, according to court papers, Rodriguez-Naranjo denied having been involved in a shooting. But, “When confronted with evidence, she admitted to firing a firearm on the freeway during rush hour traffic and again in the City of Berkeley,” police wrote in charging documents.

Rodriguez-Naranjo was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a restraining order, according to court papers.

On June 24, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged her with five felonies: assault with a semiautomatic firearm, shooting at an occupied vehicle and related crimes.

Rodriguez-Naranjo remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and is being held on $390,000 bail, according to jail records online. She is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Aug. 15 at Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

Man charged with firing gun on Alcatraz Avenue

Police seized two guns in connection with a shooting investigation on Alcatraz Avenue. Credit: BPD

A 26-year-old Oakland man has been charged in connection with a barrage of gunfire on Alcatraz Avenue in a busy residential neighborhood in May, according to court papers and police.

On May 13, police responded to Alcatraz and California Street just before 2 p.m. to reports of gunfire and a crashed vehicle: “From surveillance footage in the area, detectives learned that the vehicle that was abandoned was one of two vehicles driving on Alcatraz Avenue —where a passenger was seen firing a handgun at the other vehicle.”

According to court papers, “Numerous witnesses reported seeing the suspect vehicle speeding around other vehicles, and into oncoming traffic, while attempting to catch up to the victim vehicle. The Mercedes collided with several vehicles and the suspects ultimately abandoned it and fled from the scene.”

Occupied and unoccupied vehicles were struck by gunfire, police said. Officers found a dozen spent shell casings at the crime scene.

Police said detectives later identified William Robinson as the shooter and obtained a warrant for his arrest.

William Robinson. Credit: BPD

On May 31, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Robinson in Oakland and found him in possession of a loaded handgun with an extended magazine, BPD said. Berkeley detectives found a second handgun at Robinson’s home, according to police.

In June, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Robinson with two counts of shooting at an occupied vehicle, two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon, along with several criminal enhancements.

As of this week, Robinson remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with a bail of $750,000. He is, however, ineligible for release on bail due to a parole violation hold.

According to court records, Robinson had been released from prison in February 2022 following a robbery conviction.

He had also been charged in 2018 in connection with gunfire that left a 27-year-old man wounded in Berkeley. BPD described Robinson at the time as a known associate of South Berkeley gangs. According to court papers, Robinson — identified by police as the getaway driver — had accidentally been shot in the hand during the 2018 incident when his co-defendant fired at his intended target.

Damian Burke. Credit: BPD

A man who told police he fired his gun at a Berkeley park earlier this year to protect an “associate who got attacked during a drug deal” was ultimately sentenced to probation and a brief local prison stay as part of a plea deal.

During the shooting, a 6-year-old girl and her babysitter were inside the park while another parent and child played on a basketball court nearby, police wrote in court papers: “When the shooting occurred, the babysitter grabbed the child and ran down the block to safety.”

The shooting happened shortly before 5 p.m. on Feb. 25 at Greg Brown Park at 1907 Harmon St. in South Berkeley.

Security footage of the shooting helped police solve the case, police said in court documents: “Video surveillance shows Damian Burke enter the park through the Fairview Street gate, run towards a group and fire a handgun once in the air. The video surveillance led to the identification of Burke as it showed him entering and exiting his residence directly across the street from the park.”

Police arrested Burke, 19, on March 18 and found a “loaded 9mm ghost gun and additional evidence” at his home, according to court papers.

The DA’s office charged him with two felonies: firing a gun with gross negligence and child abuse. In June, Burke was convicted of the first count as part of a plea deal.

He was sentenced to serve 180 days in local prison at Santa Rita Jail, at half-time, and is no longer in custody, according to jail records online. He was placed on probation through June 24, 2024.

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...