Man Shot at in West Berkeley Drive-by

Contact Marcus Wohlsen at [email protected]

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A drive-by shooting Monday night rocked a West Berkeley neighborhood already reeling from a September killing but left no one hurt.

A man crossing the street near the intersection of 6th and Virginia streets was shot at at least four times from a passing car, said eyewitness Mark Boediman.

Boediman, who was walking home from work east on Virginia Street near the area of the shooting, said he heard a "very loud bang."

He said he looked up and saw a hand holding a pistol reaching out the passenger window of a car he described as a small white Saturn or Ford.

The car was headed south on 6th Street when it stopped at the intersection of 6th and Virginia streets, Boediman said.

The gun was pointed at a man crossing 6th Street also heading south, he said.

Boediman squatted behind a telephone pole he watched as the victim fell to the street after a second shot was fired, he said.

But the man got up again, apparently uninjured, and ran west down Virginia Street as at least two more shots rang out, Boediman said.

The car then sped away heading south on 6th Street, he said.

Boediman described the would-be target as a black male in a white T-shirt and dark pants.

Boediman said he was close enough to the shooter to see the fiery blast from the muzzle of the gun.

"I was shaking," Boediman said. "I couldn't sleep the whole night."

No one was hit in the shooting, said Berkeley police Officer Joe Okies.

The incident comes little more than two months after another shooting near the same intersection that left a man dead.

John Hunt, 40, was shot and killed early Sept. 5 on the 1700 block of 6th Street, south of Virginia Street.

Neighborhood residents said

that Hunt had been shot in front of a low-income housing project on the block.

"It's been getting worse lately," said Harland Burkhart, a longtime neighboorhood resident.

Burkhart's father, Jim Burkhart, was driving back from work in his truck when he heard "a pop, pop, pop," he said.

Jim Burkhart said he thought his truck had backfired, but then saw Boediman running toward him.

Burkhart heard Boediman's story and called Berkeley police, who quickly arrived on the scene with at least six cars, he said.

Police set up roadblocks and combed nearby streets, Burkhart said.

Monica Ferguson, a resident of the area, pulled into her driveway on 6th Street just as police arrived, she said.

She said she saw what appeared to be five bullet shell casings at the intersection tagged as evidence by police.

Police said "multiple shots" had been fired in the incident.

Ferguson said the neighborhood usually "seems quiet."

But she said she's worried about the safety of her 9-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

"I'm reluctant to let the kids play in the front yard," she said.

Ferguson said any commotion in the neighborhood almost always comes from the housing project across the street.

So far, police have not reported finding the shooter, the car or the man targeted in the attack.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, the number of serious crimes in the neighborhood where Monday's shooting took place has risen 70 percent since 2000.

At the same time, September's slaying was the first the neighborhood had seen since 1994, according to police. That year there were two homicides.

Berkeley has seen a total of four homicides in 2004. The first three killings all took place within a one-mile radius of each other in South Berkeley.


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