Cop gets badge damaged in shooting returned

March 13, 2009 6:02:31 PM PDT
A Berkeley police officer whose badge was damaged when a suspect he was chasing shot at him five times had his badge returned to him at a ceremony at Berkeley City Hall today.

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Officer Darren Kacalek survived the shooting near Delaware and Sixth streets in West Berkeley early on the morning of May 17, 2005. His testimony was a key factor in a trial in which suspect Howard Street was convicted of attempted murder, as well as premeditated attempted murder.

Kacalek chased Street on foot after two other officers tried to stop Street when they saw him speeding in a stolen Ford Mustang at the intersection of Sixth Street and University Avenue near Interstate Highway 80.

According to prosecutor Michael Nieto, Street, who lived near Delaware and Sixth, eventually dug up a gun he had buried in the ground and shot at Kacalek, who was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Nieto said one shot from close range struck Kacalek in the chest and damaged his badge. Another shot from close range grazed his head.

On Jan. 10, 2008, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Joseph Hurley sentenced Street, 39, who has a lengthy criminal record, to 56 years in state prison.

Nieto said the "p" and "o" in the word "police" on Kacalek's badge were almost completely obliterated by the bullet.

Nieto said Kacalek's badge was taken into evidence after the shooting but a stipulation with Street's attorneys has allowed the badge to be returned to Kacalek during Street's appeal.

Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff returned Kacalek's badge to him at the ceremony at Berkeley City Hall.

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