Arraignment for Berkeley shooting suspect

May 16, 2008 12:42:38 PM PDT
Nathaniel Freeman is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon on charges stemming from the shooting death of Oakland Parks and Recreation employee Maceo Smith one block south of the University of California, Berkeley campus Tuesday afternoon.

Berkeley police are recommending that Freeman, 19, be charged with murder for Smith's death as well as assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly shooting a second man, who was Smith's former brother-in-law, in the incident on the sidewalk in front of the Pacific Film Archive on Durant Avenue just east of Bowditch Street about 3:50 p.m. Tuesday.

Freeman turned himself in at the Berkeley police station at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said Freeman was accompanied by a lawyer and declined to be interviewed about the shooting incident.

Kusmiss said the incident began after Freeman ran into the second victim, whose name isn't being released, on Durant Avenue and the two men rekindled a dispute that started with a confrontation at a party a week earlier.

Kusmiss said the second victim eventually called Smith, a 33-year-old Berkeley man who's the father of three children, to help him out in his argument with Freeman.

She said Freeman pulled out a gun at the southwest corner of Durant and Bowditch and shot both Smith and the second victim.

According to Kusmiss, after Smith was shot he staggered across both Durant and Bowditch and collapsed in a parking lot at 2542 Durant. The lot is next to the well-known Top Dog hot dog stand at 2534 Durant. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kusmiss said the second victim got into his silver Cadillac, abandoned Smith and drove himself to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he was treated for non-life threatening gunshot wounds and released.

She said Freeman fled the scene on foot.

No weapons have been recovered, Kusmiss said.

Freeman hadn't been formally charged as of late this morning because Berkeley police haven't given their report on the incident to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

Freeman is scheduled to be arraigned sometime after 2 p.m. today at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

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