BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 02, 2022

Residents on Derby Street describe scene of killing

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KATHERINE CHEN | FILE

Katherine Chen/Staff

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JULY 19, 2013

Residents of a Derby Street neighborhood were enjoying time with their families at home shortly before they witnessed Berkeley’s second homicide of the year on Wednesday night.

Scott Blake was in his house on the corner of Derby and Grant streets with his 10-year-old daughter when he heard four or five gunshots. She asked him what the noise was and whether it was gunfire. Blake lied and said there was no gunfire.

“I feel bad about lying to my daughter, but she’s 10 years old,” he said. “I don’t want her to think it’s dangerous by the house.”

He waited until the gunfire ceased and then ran around the corner to see a young man on the ground, bleeding from multiple exit wounds.

Berkeley police arrived at the scene at approximately 6:52 p.m. Wednesday night in response to multiple reports of gunshots and discovered a severely wounded male, who was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

BPD has not yet released the identity of the victim, but several Berkeley residents identified him as Jermaine “Thurgood” Davis — the brother of Charles Davis, a man murdered by Oakland gang members in 2009. According to prosecutors, four men sought out Jermaine in 2009, and when they could not find him, they found and killed his brother Charles.

The Davis family was close-knit, said Todd Walker, a friend of the family for more than 40 years. He described Jermaine as a 26-year-old trying to get his life back together two or three years after “being involved in some things” when he was younger.

“It was just a fluke,” Walker said.

Residents of the neighborhood are divided regarding whether the shooting is cause for concern and safety measures or a so-called fluke.

Diane Abney, another resident on the block, said she arrived home from work around 6:50 p.m. as the police were cordoning off the street and saw the body with blood coming from the face. Abney said she had to step around the body, which was lying in front of the neighboring house, to reach her front door.

“There’s nothing much I can do,” Abney said.

Abney pointed to yellow chalkings and a single vigil candle on the pavement in front of a purple two-story house, which still showed remnants of caution tape late Thursday morning.

“He was laying right there,” she said.

Judith Gips, another resident of the block and a Berkeley resident since the age of 18, does not think the neighborhood is “especially dangerous.”

“(Murder) just doesn’t happen around here,” Gips said, adding that she raised her daughter in Berkeley.

Blake, however, is more concerned. His nephew Tyler Jamison, a 17-year-old student at Berkeley Technology Academy — just up the block — was shot and killed in East Oakland in February in a what may have been a gang-related shootout.

“Right here is a Berkeley Unified School District bus stop for elementary kids, and we were really lucky this didn’t happen when a lot of kids were running around playing,” Blake said.

Blake, who is part of an implementation team for the city of Oakland working for a national violence reduction strategy, was with Davis Wednesday night until the ambulance took him away.

“He was going away while we waited for the police and ambulance to come,” Blake said. “I didn’t want him to die by himself. He was just a kid.”

Contact J. Hannah Lee at 

LAST UPDATED

JULY 21, 2013


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