Update: Berkeley police search ending but investigation will continue

There’s a “huge police presence along Bancroft and Allston, almost down to Sacramento. Blocks inaccessible.” Photo: Daniel McPartlan

Update, 7:16 p.m. BPD has lifted the “shelter in place” advisory and declared the situation “all clear.” Berkeleyside will continue to follow the investigation.

Update, 6:56 p.m. BPD says students and staff at the school on Bancroft Way have been released. No arrests to report but the investigation will continue, Rateaver says: “Officers are wrapping up … and will be leaving the area shortly.”

“At this time, we do not have a suspect in custody. However, there is an ongoing investigation,” he said.

Update, 6:07 p.m. BPD Lt. Andrew Rateaver also confirms the BHS lockdown has been lifted. However, a community-based school at 1809 Bancroft is still on lockdown: “There is heavy police presence in that area now and officers are on site to ensure safety. We are in contact with staff inside.” Initially, Berkeley High was on lockdown because police did not want the person they are looking for fleeing onto campus. The school resource officer was on campus during the lockdown, Rateaver said. He confirmed earlier that BPD is “searching for an individual we believed may be armed. We also believe he may be hiding in the residential area.” The call began around 4:10 p.m.

Update, 6 p.m. BHS Principal Erin Schweng confirms the Berkeley High lockdown has been lifted; she has sent a notice through the email list and says she made a campus-wide announcement on the PA system, too. The concert will take place as planned.

Update, 5:43 p.m. A Berkeley High parent has written us to say her daughter is in the music building where there is still a lockdown in place: “She is there because she is playing in an orchestra concert tonight at 6, which I suppose will not happen. She and her classmates are in a locked room in a corner staying away from windows. She is texting me.” Berkeleyside has asked BPD for an update.

Update, 4:46 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department has issued a “shelter in place” advisory for the 2200 block of McKinley Street, the 1800 block of Allston Way, the 1800 block of Bancroft Way and the 2200 block of Grant Street due to “Police activity in the area. Officers may be checking behind buildings and homes.” Police say local residents should stay inside or avoid the area. Police ask anyone who sees anything suspicious or needs help to call 911.

Original story, 4:41 p.m. Police officers are on the scene near McKinley Street and Allston Way, in central Berkeley, to look for a man reported to have been seen with a gun, according to community reports.

Berkeleyside has reached out to the Berkeley Police Department for confirmation.

According to scanner traffic just before 4:30 p.m., officers are trying to find someone who is “armed and in the block” around Grant Street and McKinley between Allston Way and Bancroft Way.

“We’re in a ‘hold the perimeter mode’ right now,” police said over the scanner. BPD Special Response Team members have been called to search the area. Police have called for a canine from another department to help with the search, too.

As of 4:40 p.m., one school in the area was still being advised to shelter in place, though Berkeley High was allowed to operate as usual.

A local resident said he saw at least 10 police cars on Grant, and “cops all over the neighborhood.” Police “wouldn’t tell me anything other than ‘it’s an investigation’ and told me to get off the block,’” he told Berkeleyside.

According to unconfirmed scanner information, police said the man they are looking for is black, 18-20 years old, in a blue polo shirt and acid-washed jeans that are ripped.

Officers said the young man may have jumped out of a car with a handgun when he was first spotted. He ran off when police tried to stop him.

Berkeleyside will update this post if additional information becomes available.

Police set up a perimeter during a block search Friday. Photo: Berenabas