A Berkeley woman has been charged with trying to kill a police officer who was attempting to arrest her during an investigation into child abuse at her South Berkeley home, court papers show.
Police say the woman ran at a Berkeley police detective while wielding a large knife, then thrust the blade toward his chest from over her head while yelling that she was going to cut him.
The blade made contact with the detective's vest, but he was able to "grab her wrist and bring her to the ground," according to charging papers obtained by The Berkeley Scanner.
On Tuesday, the Alameda County district attorney's office charged Francesca Carreras-Velez with the attempted murder of a Berkeley police officer, assault upon the same officer, and two counts of felony child abuse, in connection with her 4-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, according to charging papers.
On Dec. 19, BPD's Youth Services Division became aware of issues related to Carreras-Velez and her "deteriorating mental health," police wrote.
Neighbors and family members had contacted BPD to let them know they were worried about Carreras-Velez and the safety of her young children, court papers show.
The woman's erratic behavior, described as "a dramatic shift from her normal baseline," was causing serious disruptions for the children, and people reported that her "mental health was declining at an alarming rate," police wrote.
Officers went to the woman's Shattuck Avenue apartment Dec. 19 to check on the family and saw Carreras-Velez experiencing what appeared to be paranoia, "which consisted of imaginary people outside," police wrote.
That day, the woman refused to open her door to let officers confirm the children were safe, according to BPD.
People also told police they could at times hear the woman and children screaming inside the apartment as well as the children talking about a lack of food inside.
On Dec. 20, Youth Services detectives got a warrant for the woman's arrest in connection with the child abuse allegations. They also got a warrant to search the residence so that they could take custody of the at-risk children, court records show.
On Dec. 21, detectives went to the apartment on Shattuck Avenue, near Ashby Avenue, to make the arrest at about 1 p.m.
Francesca Carreras-Velez. BPD
As they entered the unit, Carreras-Velez ran at the detective and tried to stab him, yelling, "I'm going to fucking cut the shit out of you," police wrote.
The detective was able to grab her and take her to the ground, where other officers helped subdue her and secure the knife, police wrote.
Police removed the children from the home and placed them under the care of Child Protective Services.
Carreras-Velez, who is 41, was initially sent for a mental health evaluation but has been at Santa Rita Jail since Dec. 30. Her bail is set at $100,000, according to jail records online.
On Jan. 4, she entered not-guilty pleas in connection with the charges against her, court records show.
Her next court date was not listed as of publication time.
Carreras-Velez has no other criminal cases in Alameda County, according to court records online.