A 6-year-old boy was sexually assaulted at the Berkeley Marina Tuesday afternoon, launching a massive search for the suspect.
According to police reports, the boy was touched by an adult male in the Shorebird Park bathroom near Adventure Playground.
The child’s mother reported the incident to the police at about 1:37 p.m., and the bathroom was quickly closed off. The East Bay Regional Park district police called in a helicopter at about 2:41 p.m. to assist in the widespread search.
Police patrolled the shoreline and scoured the marina late into the night with men on foot, bicycles, dirt bikes and patrol cars. Officers also inspected all vehicles exiting the marina after the incident.
“This is something we have really never seen before,” said Rocio Ibarra, an employee of the HS Lordships restaurant who saw police inspecting cars as she entered arrived at the marina for work at about 4:15 p.m.
A popular family venue, Adventure Playground is an interactive space where children can paint and remodel the structure. Tracy Murray and her friend drove their children to the playground Wednesday afternoon, only to find it closed off to the public.
“We came all the way from Vacaville,” Murray said. “I heard about what happened, but it’s strange that the bathroom is now open.”
The Berkeley Marina is also home to the Cal Sailing Club and the UC Aquatic Center. The center is currently hosting its youth and adolescent summer program, Cal Adventures.
Brad King, director of Cal Adventures, said an email was sent to all parents informing them of the situation but that camps and programs would continue as planned.
“We want to learn from this situation, but it was agreed at a meeting this morning that we have excellent procedures in place for our kids to keep them safe,” King said.
As of Wednesday 6 p.m., the suspect still remains at large. Police are monitoring the marina, and the investigation is ongoing.
According to Jamie Perkins, an officer with Berkeley Police Department, the suspect is described as a male younger than 30 with a dark complexion and blond hair streaked with green. He was wearing a green shirt, jeans and black sneakers.