No day off for cops

While many people had the day off in observance of Presidents Day, police officers were busy at work. There were the Fremont cops investigating the officer-involved shooting incident, and, in Newark, police responded to a scene where a man had holed himself up for about four hours in a house before he was arrested. Here’s my write-up:


Police on Monday arrested a man who had holed himself up in a house for about four hours after officers responded to a call about a domestic dispute.

When officers arrived around 11:10 a.m., they found a woman and her two sons outside a Vinewood Street home while the man was inside the house. The man — later identified as Gary Lee Burcham, 55, of Newark — was believed to be bearing firearms, so nearby residents were evacuated, police said.

Officers from Newark and Union City responded to the scene.

After about four hours of negotiations, the man, without incident, was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, police said. He underwent a mental evaluation before being booked, police said.



Investigation continues into Fremont’s officer-involved shooting


Photo by Anda Chu (staff)

I’m outside the house where a man died after apparently being shot by at least one Fremont officer on Valentine’s Day. I see five officers and a police dog on scene on Day 2 of the investigation. The officers have been examining a blue truck parked on the driveway all afternoon.

The 52-year-old man, whose name hasn’t been released by authorities, was believed to have been drinking and armed when officers responded to a call about a family disturbance in south Fremont around 11:40 a.m. Sunday. At one point, the man aimed a handgun toward police. Four veteran officers fired their guns, killing the man, according to a police statement. For today’s story, click here. Continue Reading


SWAT training in Union City, not a real crime scene

For the second time in recent months, I’ve been tripped up by police scanner traffic that led me to believe there was an active SWAT incident going on in the Tri-City area.

In May I heard SWAT action on the Fremont police radio channels, and it turned out to be nothing more than a training exercise at a defunct car dealership. And today I heard similar static on the Union City radio channels. One big difference though: I didn’t race out there today with my notebook and press pass in hand. Instead I was able to confirm by telephone that stuff I was hearing was indeed a training exercise.

I suppose it’s a dead give away when you hear an officer calmly say “shots fired,” instead of screaming it as would be the case if the incident were real.

For you scanner junkies, be aware that this training will also be taking place tomorrow.


Newark teens IDed in murder, attempted suicide

Although investigators have not released the name of the teen believed to have been shot to death by her ex-boyfriend before turning the gun on himself Friday, multiple outside sources have identified the girl as Amanda Caravantes and the suspect as Erik Petersen, both 17.

Both teens attended Newark Memorial High at some point, and Petersen still is enrolled there, according to sources.

Community members have called a candlelight vigil at 7 tonight near Newark Junior High (at Lafayette Ave./Newark Blvd.).

The text in blue is a statement from the Newark school district:

The Newark Unified School District and the Newark Memorial High School community are saddened by the tragic loss and injury of two young people on Friday night in Fremont. 

In order to provide support to students and staff who may know these families, the District will have counselors and psychologists on call this week.  Parents and students are encouraged to contact school staff if they need, or know of anyone who needs support regarding this incident.

Please join us in keeping these young people and their families in your thoughts.


Mom shot in Union City apartment while kids were home

UPDATE: (3:05 p.m.) First version on the Web site.


Story should be online momentarily, but a 25-year-old mom was shot and wounded this morning in a Union City apartment during an argument with her husband. Cops say two children were home at the time (and the mother of the suspect), but none of them were hurt. Woman is expected to live, although she is undergoing surgery as I write this.


No new cops for Fremont

The feds announced today that Union City and Hayward are among the California cities to receive money for more police officers.

Fremont had asked for $1.2 million a year for three years — enough to pay for eight new officers. It was rejected.

The feds based the grants primarily on violent crime rates, and Fremont didn’t have enough violence to qualify, Chief Craig Steckler said. Only 14 percent of requests were granted, he added.

Fremont this year is budgeted for 185 sworn officers, but actually has 179 in uniform, Steckler said.

In 1992, the city was budgeted for 180 officers.

By Stecker’s math, he’s got five more officers patrolling a city with 40,000 more residents.

Of course, in 1992 a rookie cop made about $44,000 before overtime. Now the officer makes at least $80,000 with the city chipping in at least another $24,000 to cover the pension costs.


Police bulding retrofit estimated at $12.25 million

The City Council is expected to approve two contracts for this project. For those who forgot, Fremont opened a new police building adjacent to the Hayward Fault in 1996. But it was designed with structural system that proved vulnerable in the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

City officials knew it was a problem during construction, but they decided it made more sense to complete the building as designed and then retrofit it later, which is now what they’re doing.


Police dive team at Lake Elizabeth

**Update: Cops this morning said they found a gun in the lake yesterday and have placed it into evidence. No crime has been committed.

If you go walking at Lake Elizabeth today, don’t be alarmed if you see a dive team from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in the water. The group is not searching for a dead body or anything like that. They’re actually searching for a gun that someone reportedly threw in the lake last night.

Here’s the skinny: Someone threatened to commit suicide last night and a roommate of that person took the gun away, drove to Lake Elizabeth and threw it in the water.

Upon hearing this, Fremont police called the county dive team and told them they could use this opportunity as a training exercise. The county agency agreed, and apparently headed out there this morning.