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Seriously Injured Teen in BART Path Shooting Recovering

The more seriously injured of the two Albany High School students shot on the BART path in El Cerrito Wednesday is in stable condition Thursday and expected to improve, police said. The other teen was treated and released Wednesday.

The more seriously wounded of two male Albany High School students who were shot on the BART path in El Cerrito Wednesday is in stable condition and expected to improve, police said late Thursday.

The injured pair and a third schoolmate were on the path near the El Cerrito Library shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday when two males accosted them about their shoes, according to Albany High School principal Ted Barone.

Two of the Albany students were shot, one receiving a flesh wound to the face, and the other injured "critically," Barone said. The third student escaped without injury, he said in a statement to the school community.

The seriously injured student was hospitalized and is in stable and apparently improving condition today, El Cerrito police Captain Michael Regan said.

"The information we have at the moment is that he is in stable condition and should continue to improve," Regan said. The other victim was treated and released Wednesday night.

The shooters — described by police as young African-American males in dark clothing, including hooded sweatshirts — fled on foot eastbound on Stockton Avenue. The shooting took place on the path, also known as the Ohlone Greenway, between Stockton and Lincoln Avenue, not far from the El Cerrito Library and Fairmont Elementary School.

Reagan said the victims are cooperating with police in the investigation and that there is no indication at this time that they knew the shooters.

The Contra Costa Times cited Regan saying the two groups engaged in some kind of argument before the shots were fired.

A visit Thursday afternoon by a Patch reporter to the segment of the BART path where the shooting occurred – 24 hours after the incident – found it deserted and quiet except for the sounds of children playing nearby at the Fairmont School playground, the occasional noise of BART trains overhead and a siren in the distance. (See the attached brief video clip for a glimpse of the scene.)

A mother of a child at Fairmont said her daughter could hear the shots while in school Wednesday and was crying when the mother picked her up. The school was placed on lockdown for 30 minutes until police determined that the shooters had left the area.

Anyone with information about the suspects or the crime is asked to call El Cerrito police at 510-237-3233.

Kathy A. January 25, 2013 at 05:16 PM
I'm unclear on exactly where this happened; and the timeline might be a bit unclear, too -- I think the third student ran off and found help somewhere? (Also, clocks and watches in my own house can vary by minutes...) It does not sound like Fairmount students observed the shooting, but they must have been upset by the lockdown. In other comments, residents have observed that stretches of the Greenway in EC are [a] hidden from nearby places by bushes, and [b] not always occupied by other people. I use the Greenway path for short distances by the EC Plaza BART station, but we always asked our daughter to stick to the streets -- where there are more people -- when she was walking or biking around town. My husband rides a lot, but uses the streets -- more traffic, but if something happens, someone will see.
Susan January 25, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Pete, I agree with all of your suggestions but some of us are not going to use these paths. Or, certainly not if you are walking alone and carrying something that can be stolen (backpacks, briefcases, visible I-phones). These paths have not been safe for a long time - maybe no shootings have made the news but muggings happen all the time. The paths are isolated - big concrete barriers to hide behind - cannot be seen from the street. I occasionally walk home from bart and if I can't see other bart people to walk with, I go out of my way to take another street that is publicly visible. And certainly NOT after dark.
K Murphy January 25, 2013 at 06:06 PM
For Greenway concerns, please do give the City of El Cerrito feedback officially. There is a City of El Cerrito Strategic Planning Meeting for SAT JAN 26 at 9:00 AM at City Hall (see the website for details) and I believe there is also a way to send comments re email or at 9AM at the public comment period. Safety in El Cerrito is a part of the strategic plan (it addresses safety, walkability and all kinds of other things that impact El Cerrito). Improving Greenway safety is an important part of El Cerrito safety.
Gary Tang January 25, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Totally agreed. This is my running trail until they closed sections of it. I will resume running there even in the dark after the path is reopened.
Tim Q. Cannon January 25, 2013 at 06:44 PM
I wish they'd set up a sting there...this is getting all too common.
Allison Adams January 25, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Another solution is to back gun control.
Marty January 25, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Thank God they survived. Three suggestion for ECPD: 1) increase patrols on the path, 2) use racial and age profiling, and 3) stop and frisk. You know who is committing these crimes and it's not the 70-year-old Chinese guy doing TaiChi.
Kathy A. January 25, 2013 at 07:15 PM
It is also not every african-american kid in town. Nor every young person in a hoodie. I agree with increasing patrols, and other measures to increase safety on the Greenway. But I also want to know where the guns are coming from. And I want to know why we cannot have reasonable, rational ways to reduce the availability of guns.
Tammy January 25, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Hello, Arizona, Instead of using violent crime as an opportunity to be openly racist, and institute racist policy, let's be constructive. I, for one, do not want my child "stopped and frisked" just because he is a young person of color. That is a totally ridiculous and inappropriate suggestion. Sure, let's keep the Greenway visible and patrolled. Let's not make more opportunities for young kids of color to be inappropriate targets of police violence by incorporating racial profiling into search and seizure. Geesh.
Bronwen Rowlands January 25, 2013 at 07:44 PM
I think it's important to note that El Cerrito's Open House Senior Center is also located up against the BART tracks, in between the school and the library.
Mark Kay January 25, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Stop and frisk? Two wrongs don't make a right.
Gail Grenke (maiden name: Brumbaugh) January 25, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Wow, I grew up and lived in El Cerrito most of my young life. I've since moved to the Midwest and have been out here since 1998. I used to walk that trail every day after taking BART back from the city. I never felt that it wasn't safe and didn't give it a second thought. I keep up with the "Patch" because I like to hear how my hometown is doing. I'm sickened by all the car theft, robberies and things of this nature that never used to be so profound in that area. Bums me out to read these things.
DJ January 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM
I don't see "stop and frisk" as a wrong. The law allows police officers to stop & detain & frisk based on reasonable suspicion (not probably cause). Here is one link describing when police can stop and frisk a person. http://www.legalzoom.com/us-law/privacy/when-can-police-stop Personally, if I choose to dress like a hoodlum, and walk like a hoodlum, I have no problem with the PD questioning me and frisking me if it warrants it. But I have more self respect than to dress and behave like a hoodlum.
DJ January 25, 2013 at 10:13 PM
This all sort of makes me want to walk the Ohlone Greenway MORE often. Increase the presence of the community there.
WCCUSD parent January 25, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Thank you Pete for your comment, I agree 100%. I also take Susan's precautions when using (or choosing not to use) the greenway. But I use it daily, and wish others did as well. I will be commenting to the city of EC in support of public gardens, a new library, and creating a safe friendly resource for our community.
Kathy A. January 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM
DJ, your view of frisking is (so far as I can tell) broader than the law actually is. There needs to be an immediate reason to suspect a crime happening, or immediate danger to the officer -- and dressing in a hoodie is not that.
Caren Dillyworth January 25, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Are there more details about the alledged assailants, other than "two black males in black hoodies"? Were they short, tall, skinny, husky, light-skin, dark skin, afroed, bald, dreds. Did they have pants on? Blue jeans, black jeans, purple jeans? Baggy jeans, skinny jeans, at the waist, below the waist? If the conflict was over shoes, what type of shoes were the alledged assailants wearing? What type of shoes were the Albany students wearing? The lack of simple details make me suspicious about how this incident actually occurred.
Barbara Hill January 26, 2013 at 12:10 AM
I've lived in E.C. for 37+ years and don't think the crime is much worse if at all. What has changed is the "instant communication" by which we now have more access to news about crime. When my mother-in-law was alive, she spent her entire life in rural East Texas. Years ago she went to her favorite catfish restaurant and noticed a new cashier who did not have a Texas accent, so asked where she was from. The cashier was from El Cerrito. She had moved to East Texas to get away from crime in the Bay Area and specifically in the East Bay. On one of our trips to visit my m-in-l, I actually met the woman, whose name I do not remember. Unfortunately, less than 2 years later, a robber held up the catfish restaurant and shot her dead. I was so upset; if that woman had stayed in El Cerrito, she would probably be alive today.
CJ January 26, 2013 at 03:39 AM
I live a block away, and we didn't notice any sirens although so many sirens speed by on San Pablo at all hours that perhaps we did hear and simply didn't file it away as unusual. I run on that stretch in the morning and feel safe. I never walk it in the after school hours because I don't feel safe then. My husband takes BART home late at night twice a week and he says he would never ever ever walk along that stretch after dark -- he sticks to well-lit streets.
C.T. January 26, 2013 at 06:51 AM
The lock down occurred right as students were being dismissed. This resulted in some students and parents being held in the classroom and some parents grabbing their children and leaving.
Ken & Molly January 26, 2013 at 07:20 AM
We agree with Pete - let's 're-claim' the Ohlone Greenway from the thugs and use it more often for leisure walks and biking. Remember to walk in groups with your neighbors, friends, family and don't walk alone! Someone's suggestion of a sting operation by ECPD is a good one! Attend the EC Strategic Planning meeting on Sat 1/26 at 9 am and let our voices heard.
ECfamily January 26, 2013 at 09:13 AM
I live a few bocks from the high school. Things have changed a LOT this year compared to last year. Not a day goes by without encountering truant kids wandering the streets, invariably smoking weed. Whether at 730am strolling down the street carefully scoping the houses as they pass in a cloud of smoke, or tresspassing in the afternoon beneath the neighbors trees for hidden toke, they are around every school day. Sadly, they are mostly all the same color and gender. I called the police once when the tresspassing was particularly brazen, but they never came.The thugs seem to have gotten the message - they have the impunity to do what they want. After all the robberies, no suprise we have shooting. Seriously, does anyone know what the difference is this year? Less money for officers? Lax discipline at the school?
mindyerownbizness January 26, 2013 at 08:52 PM
yeah, that'll stop those gang thugs from getting guns.
steve January 26, 2013 at 11:52 PM
The way to curb this type of violence is more prevention education. We must not forget these were good kids on their way home from school. They were not looking for trouble, trouble found them. It could have been anyone the perpetrators came in contact with. Keep the focus on the safety of the kids and what the families of the victims now have to endure. These kids can be scarred for the rest of their lives. For those of us who have kids make sure you love the daily. Tell them how special they are, and encourage them to keep living. Do not put fear in them but confidence.
David Britt January 27, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Stop and frisk is only constitutional if the officers have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. I hope you aren't suggesting our officers engage in unconstitutional behavior. And the suggestion that racial profiling be practiced is not only morally outrageous, it is highly questionable as a long term policy. What we don't need is an institutionalized race barrier in this area. Danger or no danger, I refuse to accept those solutions. Increased patrols are quite reasonable.
Evelyn B January 27, 2013 at 06:03 PM
How do you know these were "good kids on their way home from school"? Why were good kids from Albany High loitering under the BART tracks up in El Cerrito? I don't think we're getting all of the details about this case.
K Murphy January 27, 2013 at 06:19 PM
@Evelyn -- Many, many people, including me, use the Greenway as a transportation route (pedestrian and bike). I don't think enough details are available to state that the teens were doing anything illegal or "loitering".
Kathy A. January 27, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Nobody's kids deserve to be shot. There has not been any information to suggest that the teen victims were anything but in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are somebody's children. They have friends and extended family -- there have been comments in these stories from a couple such people. Can you imagine if your child was shot, and random strangers were speculating that your child more or less "deserved it" (and/or was engaged in criminal activity, and/or was gang-involved)? That kind of speculation serves no purpose but to inflame others, and hurt those who are already scared and upset about what happened to their children, their friends. I'd also like to point out that the Greenway is a linear public park. Parks are meant to be used. Along its route, the Greenway features not only the bike/pedestrian paths, but grassy areas and benches; just north of the EC Plaza BART station, there is even a sandbox area for kids to play. So, I'm not sure what constitutes "loitering" in a park. The unusual safety problem is that portions of the Greenway are fairly isolated from easy public view. Many sections do not run along streets; some sections are shielded by shrubbery, as well.
Hoboken January 28, 2013 at 05:05 AM
John, I think John S. might be right about your older son arriving at Fairmont before the lockdown. I don't know the exact time when the school went into lockdown. I arrived at Fairmont before the early dismissal (2:05 pm). I had enough time to walk from the where I parked the car - quite by chance, close to where the incident took place. The lockdown happened a few minutes after the kids got out of school. I did not hear any sirens or see any emergency vehicles. I did hear the gun fire; I assumed that what I had heard was the sound of firecrackers.
shirley kirsten March 30, 2013 at 01:02 PM
there should be more bike (police patrols) along Ohlone. For God sakes, they have all those cops at Del Norte, why not effectively dispense them.

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