Police: Homeless man assaults woman after water use dispute

Police say Nathaniel Girard got upset when the woman asked him not to leave her water running.

Police: Homeless man assaults woman after water use dispute
A Berkeley police cruiser (file photo). Emilie Raguso/The Berkeley Scanner

A homeless man struck a Berkeley woman in her 60s this week, using her own cane, when she asked him to turn off her outside faucet after he used it to get water for his dog, authorities report.

The woman had brought the man a dog bowl to use just before the attack Monday, Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman, said in response to a Berkeley Scanner inquiry.

According to BPD, the man had first gone onto the woman's property with his dog to get water one day earlier — and had left the woman's water running when he left.

When she saw the man come back Monday, to the 1800 block of Russell Street, between Harper and Ellis streets, shortly before 11:15 a.m. the woman "brought the man a dog bowl to collect the water and asked that he remember to turn the water off when he left," White said.

Nathaniel Girard. Berkeley Police

That's when the situation escalated, police said.

"The man cursed the woman and grabbed her cane," White said.

When the woman pushed the man away, he shoved her up against her house and struck her in the side with her cane, according to police.

The man walked away on Russell Street and police arrested him a short time later on suspicion of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

Police identified the man as 46-year-old Nathaniel Girard (no address).

BPD took the man's dog, a pit bull mix, to Berkeley Animal Care Services.

As of Tuesday, Girard remained in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with a bail of $130,000.

He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday, according to records online.

He has no other criminal cases listed in Alameda County Superior Court.