Police shooting: Man drove toward cop, detainee, BPD says

Dispatch audio sheds light on what took place and seems consistent with a police narrative released Monday night.

Police shooting: Man drove toward cop, detainee, BPD says
Bullet holes and shattered glass can be seen in the driver's side window of an SUV after a fatal police shooting in Berkeley on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. Emilie Raguso/The Berkeley Scanner

Update, Nov. 21, 1 p.m. The man who was shot and killed by police in Berkeley earlier this month has been identified as 39-year-old David Bonino II (no address), authorities said Tuesday.

Original story: The man who died Monday in a police shooting in Berkeley was driving toward an officer and a detainee just before it happened, authorities say.

On Monday night, Berkeley police released additional details about what occurred at Grayson and Seventh streets early that morning.

Dispatch audio sheds additional light on what took place and seems consistent with the police narrative released Monday night.

But it's also important to note that the investigation is ongoing and more records and details will be released in the coming months due to transparency laws about police shootings in California.

The Scanner broke the news Monday of the Berkeley police shooting and subsequent fatality.

So far, police have released no details about the man who died, including his name, age or city of residence.

The Alameda County coroner's office said there is a press hold on the case, meaning it can release no information.

Berkeley police did arrest two associates of the man as part of the auto burglary investigation that immediately preceded the fatal shooting.

They are 37-year-old Samuel Becker of Novato and 30-year-old Zoee Craven of Oakland, according to booking records online and police.

"He's trying to run us over, he's trying to run us over!"

At the time of the shooting, the graveyard shift that had worked overnight was just finishing up after coming on duty at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Assuming the shift was full, just nine officers and two sergeants would have been responsible for the entire city.

The team was just minutes away from signing off when the call took a deadly turn.

Berkeley police say officers were dispatched just before 5:30 a.m. Monday to an auto burglary in progress on Grayson Street near Seventh Street, on the south side of Bayer's Berkeley complex.

"We’ve got a group of three with crowbars trying to break into utility boxes on the rear of a truck," a dispatcher told police, according to audio recordings reviewed by The Scanner.

The truck was described as a white work truck, which was part of a UC fleet in Richmond and later determined to have been reported stolen.

Monday's call for service began as an auto burglary investigation when three people with crowbars reportedly tried to break into this UC work truck. Emilie Raguso/TBS

According to the dispatch audio, the suspects were described by the caller as "possibly three white males" wearing beanies and black hoodies.

It was still dark out: The sun would not rise for another hour.

One officer asked dispatch whether there were any suspect vehicles related to the call, and the dispatcher said no. The dispatcher said the individuals may have come from a nearby homeless encampment.

When officers arrived, BPD said in Monday night's statement, they "encountered several suspects."

Police quickly detained one of them after having him lay down on the ground, according to the dispatch audio. He was later identified as Samuel Becker.

In its statement Monday night, Berkeley police said two other people tried to flee from the scene in an SUV, which "collided with a patrol car and drove towards the officer and the detained suspect."

That's when, Berkeley police say, the fatal shooting occurred.

In the dispatch audio, which at times can be difficult to decipher, an officer described one vehicle fleeing the scene via Grayson Street.

Another officer notes that Grayson Street is a dead end, advising, "Be careful."

At that point, the "Code 3" emergency beeper can be heard over the radio.

As the situation develops, with the driver fleeing eastbound on Grayson toward Seventh, according to the dispatch audio, an officer calls for emergency backup, or "Code 3 cover," his voice rising as the SUV passes.

"It just crossed in front of us," he says, with increasing urgency, also reporting that there had just been an assault, or "245" on an officer (likely from when the driver allegedly hit a patrol car).

"He's trying to run us over, he's trying to run us over!" a different officer shouts over the radio. That's followed by what sounds to be even more frantic reports of "shots fired, shots fired."

"I need everybody we got," a police sergeant calmly advises over the radio. "All units break and go."

Berkeley police shooting leaves man dead
TBS was the first news outlet to report this incident.

According to the radio traffic, police next called for rifles and less-than-lethal launchers, which fire hard foam projectiles, as they worked to control the scene.

"We got the driver hit," an officer reported over the radio.

Police called for medical help from BFD and, once they got the driver out of the vehicle, began administering CPR.

Once the area was secure, the Berkeley Fire Department rendered medical aid and took the man to Highland Hospital, where he reportedly was pronounced dead shortly before 8 a.m.

The woman who had been in the SUV with him, Zoee Craven, was taken into custody.

According to the radio traffic, police determined after the shooting that the suspect's vehicle was a stolen Ford Expedition that had been taken from Benicia.

Berkeley police shooting will be handled in-house

State investigators visit the crime scene of a police shooting in Berkeley on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. Emilie Raguso/TBS

In addition to Berkeley police, the coroner's office and the Alameda County DA's office — which has its own unit that investigates police shootings — responded Monday to the scene.

State investigators also visited the scene to review the preliminary evidence. They ultimately determined that Berkeley police would handle the case.

Experts say that may have hinged on whether the driver was determined to have been armed or unarmed when he was shot. (A vehicle can be considered a deadly weapon under the law.)

The BPD homicide unit and Internal Affairs Bureau will now investigate what happened, as will the DA's Public Accountability Unit, which Pamela Price created in late January during her first weeks in office.

A closer look at the Berkeley police shooting scene

Throughout the day, police had a large perimeter set up, taping off all three blocks surrounding the area near the corner of Seventh and Grayson where the shooting happened.

(The fourth side of the scene was the dead end on Grayson, at Aquatic Park, without vehicle access.)

The large perimeter made it difficult for community members to get a clear view.

Many passing motorists paused to ask what might have happened and media outlets, including The Scanner, stayed in the area until the afternoon in an effort to get a better understanding of what had unfolded.

The Ford Expedition ultimately came to rest on the sidewalk and a landscape strip parallel to Berkeley Advanced Biomaterials, a biomedical supply company that's been in operation for nearly three decades.

From a distance, it appeared that a Berkeley police cruiser had pinned the Expedition against the wall of the building.

Police appear to have pinned the suspect vehicle against the wall of a building just before an officer-involved shooting that killed a man Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. Emilie Raguso/TBS

Once police towed the involved vehicles, broke down the crime scene and left the area at about 1:45 p.m., the damage, which was primarily to the landscaping, was clear.

Broken plants were strewn along the landscaping along the front of the building and a long dirt streak from a tire track extended across the sidewalk where the SUV had come to rest.

Shattered black auto glass was scattered all over the sidewalk. Nearby, a dead rat rested on its back on the curb, and a piece of broken glass that appeared to be specked in blood was still on the sidewalk.

A metal railing outside the biomaterials business had also been bent horizontally back toward the building, which happened as the driver fled up the sidewalk toward Seventh.

The shooting temporarily disrupted normal operations at Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, which has its middle school at 906 Grayson St., with an entrance on Eighth Street.

The school initially sent all middle school students to its lower campus on Heinz Avenue, then escorted them back to Eighth Street with the help of crossing guards.

The school seemed to resume its normal day quickly, as the sounds of recess filtered out of the yard while the police investigation unfolded nearby. At one point, an errant ball from children playing flew over the fence and into the blocked-off police perimeter. But the main scene was far enough away that it didn't make a difference.

Berkeley police shooting: What happens next?

As of Tuesday, Zoee Craven and Samuel Becker remained in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to booking records.

Craven was arrested on suspicion of burglary, vehicle theft and possession of stolen property, according to those records.

Becker was arrested on suspicion of burglary and committing an offense while out on bail, according to the records.

Court records show that Becker has a pending felony case from 2023 involving vehicle theft. Craven does not appear to have any other criminal cases in Alameda County.

Both suspects were also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and are scheduled for arraignment Wednesday at Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, according to records online.

Police said their booking photographs may be available at a later date and that an update on the investigation may be coming later this week.

Under state law, police have 45 days to release officer body-camera footage from the scene.

That generally comes out in the form of a produced video followed by the release of raw footage for those who request it.

Berkeley's last fatal police shooting took place in Albany in September in response to an active shooter call at Toyota.

Prior to that, there had been no fatal BPD shootings since 2010.

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