2 women stabbed, 1 has died, after Berkeley Hills attack

Berkeley police said the attack at about 12:30 p.m. in the 900 block of Overlook Road was "not random."

2 women stabbed, 1 has died, after Berkeley Hills attack
Police and firefighters arrive on Overlook Road in the Berkeley Hills shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Emilie Raguso/The Berkeley Scanner

One woman is dead and another in the hospital Saturday after a family disturbance that began on Overlook Road in the Berkeley Hills, authorities report.

Berkeley police arrested a man linked to the stabbing after a car chase that ended on Gilman Street.

Police say he is related to the woman who died but had released no other information about him as of about 5 p.m.

Berkeley police and firefighters originally responded to the 900 block of Overlook Road in the Berkeley Hills after neighbors reported a disturbance at about 12:30 p.m., according to initial reports.

When officers first got to the scene they found a 60-year-old woman who was unresponsive, according to preliminary reports. She did not appear to be breathing.

"Ma'am, can you hear me?" a Berkeley police officer could be heard asking over the radio shortly after 12:40 p.m.

‘Erratic, violent’: Berkeley Hills murder suspect has dark past
A police officer described Jonah Roper’s behavior as “erratic, violent and sexually inappropriate” after he broke into his mother’s home in 2021.

Responding officers said the woman had multiple stab wounds to the chest and at one point had a faint pulse.

But she did not survive the attack, police confirmed shortly after 1:30 p.m. They also said the attack was "not random."

It was Berkeley's first homicide of the year.

A teenage girl described as the woman's daughter "seems to be OK," authorities said over the radio when they got to the scene.

During the initial disturbance on Overlook Road, the deceased woman's husband was also cut by the assailant, sustaining injuries to the hands.

Police and firefighters on Overlook Road in the Berkeley Hills, Sept. 23, 2023. Emilie Raguso/The Berkeley Scanner

The man fled to a neighbor's house in the 1000 block of Middlefield Road nearby. That's where the second woman, who is in her 70s, was stabbed while visiting a friend.

She was taken to Highland Hospital for treatment and is reportedly in stable condition as of 5 p.m.

As officers were initially responding to Overlook, they spotted a man fleeing the area in a green Honda sedan.

One community member saw five Berkeley police cars "with sirens on speeding north on the Alameda" at Hopkins Street.

Another person who saw the vehicle pursuit said there was a young bearded man behind the wheel.

He was "being chased through Albany by two police cars. The driver was so calm and deadpan as he came head-on towards me on Marin, dodging traffic, that I thought maybe he was a police officer, part of the chase."

Police arrested the driver at Ninth and Gilman streets, next to the Whole Foods parking lot, around 12:45 p.m.

A reader who saw the chase end said "police used their cars to smash the guy's car," which "made it spin around and stopped him from going any further."

The man was reportedly in a neighbor's vehicle that was either carjacked or stolen, police said.

Neighbors saw disturbance spill into the street

On Saturday afternoon, one local resident said he had seen his neighbor, a man in his 60s, being chased by a younger man with a hoodie pulled tight around his head.

"Why are you doing this?" the neighbor asked the man who was chasing him. "I didn't do anything to you."

The resident said he could hear his neighbor yelling for help, and screaming to call 911, as he ran to Middlefield Road nearby.

The man whose family was attacked on Overlook Road walks police through the scene. Emilie Raguso/TBS

Before police arrived, the resident also heard a "bloodcurdling scream" and then silence from a house up the hill.

There were also initial reports of a possible shooting but police said those reports had been unfounded.

The Park Hills community where Saturday's homicide happened is typically quiet and safe. But it's not the first time in recent years that residents have encountered tragedy.

In 2012, 67-year-old Peter Cukor was killed by a mentally ill stranger who attacked him outside his home about a half-mile southeast of Saturday's attack.

Berkeley Hills murder suspect ID'd as Jonah Roper

BPD's Crime Scene Unit leaves Overlook Road in the Berkeley Hills at 2:15 p.m. Emilie Raguso/TBS

Update, 10:30 p.m. The suspect from Saturday's fatal stabbing on Overlook Road in the Berkeley Hills has been identified as Jonah Roper, the son of the woman who was killed.

Police say Roper also stabbed a second woman, putting her in the hospital, and cut his stepfather, causing injuries to the hands.

According to booking records, Roper is 36 years old and unemployed.

Read more about the Berkeley Hills murder case on TBS.

He was arrested on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, child abuse with possible great bodily injury, elder abuse, burglary and vehicle theft.

He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday at Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

This story was updated repeatedly due to the developing nature of events.

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