City's Third Homicide Raises Concerns About South Berkeley Violence

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As the investigation of Berkeley's third homicide of the year continues, community members and city officials have expressed concerns over street violence in South Berkeley.

On Friday evening, 29-year-old Berkeley resident Marcus Mosley was found in the driver's seat of his parked car near the corner of Milvia and Russell streets, having suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Mosley was pronounced dead after Berkeley Fire Department paramedics failed to resuscitate him at the scene.

Police have not named any suspects yet, nor have they determined a motive for the shooting. Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said it is too soon to determine whether the shooting was gang or drug related.

Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee President Jim Smith said the shooting does not come as a surprise to some residents in South Berkeley, where many of the city's violent crimes occur.

"Some people make the assumption that it's a continuation, that it's a battle between some of the so-called gang people from North Oakland and South Berkeley," he said.

The homicide was not Mosley's first involvement with Southside street violence. In May 2008, Mosley was wounded in a South Berkeley shooting that left his former brother-in-law, Maceo Smith, dead.

Smith said city officials need to "connect certain dots" to recognize the cause of such violence.

"It seems like they don't really want to do what it really takes to solve the problem," he said. "The long-term solution is that we identify youth that we see heading in the wrong direction and develop programs and strategies that take those young people out of harm's way."

Although some residents consider the neighborhood where the homicide occurred generally quiet, areas in West and South Berkeley have seen street violence earlier this year with two previous homicides.

City officials encourage citizens to contact police rather than take the law into their own hands, but some incidents cannot be prevented, said Councilmember Max Anderson.

"Some of these things are not preventable - you just have to respond them," he said, "We're going to keep trying to improve conditions in the neighborhood."

According to Mayor Tom Bates, some incidents of violence in Berkeley are the result of crime in neighboring Richmond and Oakland communities, with "a series of problems" at the border of Oakland and South Berkeley.

Berkeley's first homicide this year involved the fatal stabbing of a resident by a suspected gang member in February in West Berkeley. In the year's second homicide, a resident was killed in a South Berkeley shooting June 3.

"Homicides and shootings can result from something as simple as a dispute or a dice game," Kusmiss said, "We're seeing more and more problems being solved with weapons rather than with words."


Contact Matt Burris at [email protected]

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