'Panic on the campus': New details on UC Berkeley shooting

Police say Virgil Hampton ordered students to open their backpacks and caused a disturbance because he wanted a charger.

'Panic on the campus': New details on UC Berkeley shooting
Gunfire broke a window on the UC Berkeley campus on Feb. 9 but no one was hurt. Scanner Insider

The man who fired a gun into the air at UC Berkeley earlier this month fought with a student first, causing other students to flee, police wrote in court papers.

Virgil Hampton, 59, is set for arraignment and may enter a plea in Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday morning.

Police say Hampton fired nine shots on Lower Sproul Plaza on Friday, Feb. 9. No one was hurt.

But the gunfire caused "significant panic on the campus and a large police response," UCPD wrote in court papers that became available Monday.

One bullet also shattered a window at Eshleman Hall next to the plaza.

The University of California Police Department has declined to release a booking photograph of Hampton, an Oakland resident who was on a psychiatric hold for nearly two weeks after the shooting.

The Berkeley Scanner broke the news that he had first been sent for a psych eval and was subsequently arrested last week.

Police wrote that Hampton rode his motorcycle onto campus and parked outside a large white "circle-like tent" that had been set up on Lower Sproul Plaza.

According to police, Hampton went inside the tent and found students in the midst of dance practice.

Hampton ordered students to open their backpacks and caused a disturbance because he wanted someone to give him a charger, UCPD said.

That's when "a physical altercation ensued between Hampton and at least one of the students," police wrote in charging papers.

Other students fled the tent as Hampton "retrieved a handgun from his motorcycle, appeared to load it, and began firing up and at an angle into the air," UCPD wrote.

Read more about what happened inside the tent.

The shooting was captured on security camera footage as well as other bystander footage that has been shared widely on social media.

UCPD arrested Hampton within two minutes of the gunfire and recovered his gun at the scene, police said.

On Monday, the Alameda County district attorney's office charged Hampton with discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, having a loaded gun on campus and carrying a loaded gun within a vehicle.

The handgun had been stored beneath Hampton's motorcycle seat, UCPD wrote in charging papers.

According to jail records, Hampton is being held without bail.

He is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday at 9 a.m. at Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

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