Three shot in central Berkeley neighborhood

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Three men were shot as they stood in front of a Berkeley home in the 2200 block of Bonar Street at around 6 p.m. Friday, leaving neighbors shaken and worried about their own safety.

Multiple rounds were fired at a group of at least five people who were standing in front of an apartment building on Bonar, according to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, spokesperson for the Berkeley Police Department. The gunshots came from a vehicle that stopped in the roadway, according to Kusmiss. The three victims who were injured and taken to Highland General Hospital in Oakland had all been treated and released as of Monday afternoon.

The area where the men were shot is located on Bonar between Allston and Bancroft ways.

According to residents of the neighborhood, the three men were shot multiple times. One of the men was shot in the stomach or chest, residents said.

“I thought it was fireworks, or maybe some kids playing craps,” said longtime neighborhood resident Amy Thomas, whose home is right across from the scene of the shooting. “There were 12 to 15 gun shots (and) I went to the window, but I did not see anything.”

Art Williams, also a long-time resident, came home around 7 p.m. and saw that police had blocked both sides of the block, and that there were bullet casings in the middle of the street and on the sidewalk.

“All of us are shaken up,” Williams said. “I am tired, and I do not feel safe.”

According to Williams, the street has a “hanging out problem,” meaning many people who do not live in the area tend to gather there.

“I have been living here for 36 years and nothing like this has happened,” Williams said. “When I was growing up it was one of the biggest drug streets on the block, but they cleaned it up.”

According to Thomas, there is always something going on in the area and there is a core group of people that hangs around and causes trouble.

“A drive by shooting is rare, cops coming to the area is not,” Thomas said.

As of Sunday, the Berkeley Police Department could not release the names of the victims, or any further information about possible motives.

Berkeley has seen one fatal shooting so far in 2012.

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