Berkeley police issue community warning for potential threat to children

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Berkeley Police Department issued a community warning for a potential threat to children related to the repeated arrests of a male suspect in connection to child harassment and probation violations.

Berkeley resident William Turner, 36, has been detained and arrested twice by BPD because of an “unnatural focus on children,” according to a Nixle alert issued by BPD on Monday.

On June 12, officers responded to the Tot Lot at McGee and Hearst avenues near the Ohlone Greenway in North Berkeley on a call of a suspicious person. According to the alert, Turner allegedly tried to feed an unknown liquid to three children, including a one-year-old, without parental consent.

That evening, Turner was placed on emergency psychiatric detention for his actions and comments made to the responding officers, although BPD did not release further details about this. He was arrested, for the first time, on charges of annoying or harassing a child under 18 years old and possession of stolen property.

Turner later plead guilty to a lesser, unnamed offense and was released on probation on the order that he stay away from all parks and schools within Alameda County. On Sept. 1, however, Turner was spotted by a BPD officer near the Berkeley High School and Berkeley Community College area, violating the terms of his probation. Turner was arrested, and released, for the second time.

In the alert, BPD said it has released the advisory “in the in the hopes that families who visit our parks will remain vigilant for William Turner.”

Check back for updates.

Audrey McNamara is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @McNamaraAud.