A Berkeley man with a long criminal record was convicted today of the attempted murder of a police officer as well as willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder for shooting Berkeley police officer Darren
Kacalek following a chase more than two years ago.
Howard Street, 38, will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in connection with the May 17, 2005, incident near Delaware and Sixth streets in West Berkeley, according to prosecutor Mike
However, jurors, who deliberated for less than two full days, acquitted Street of first-degree residential burglary, carjacking and assault with a firearm charges in connection with a separate incident involving the robbery and shooting of 50-year-old Gerald Sims in an Oakland motel room on May 5, 2005.
Nieto said Street shot at Kacalek, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, at least five times, including one shot from close range that struck Kacalek in the chest and damaged his badge and another shot from close range
that grazed his head.
Kacalek survived the incident, returned to work shortly afterward, testified against Street during his trial and was present in court today when the jury announced its verdict.
Street's attorney, Andrew Steckler, admitted to jurors in his closing argument that Street shot Kacalek but said Street believed he was acting in self-defense because he didn't know the person chasing him was a police officer and thought it have been a member of a prison gang to which he formerly belonged.
Nieto said jurors “didn't buy” that argument, which also was cited by Street when he took the witness stand to testify in his own defense.
Nieto said the incident began about 2:35 a.m. on May 17, 2005, when two 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.
Nieto said Street didn't pull over even though the officers, who were traveling in two separate cars, turnedon their lights and sirens.
The officers chased Street, but he managed to get away in the car, according to Nieto.
Shortly afterward, Kacalek, who had set up a perimeter near Sixth and Delaware streets and drawn his gun, spotted Street on foot and ordered him to get on the ground, Nieto said. But Street refused to comply with the officer's orders and ran away, the prosecutor said.
Street has previously been convicted of possession of firearms, robbery and drug sales and escaped police custody in 1990 and 1997. His sentencing date hasn't yet been set.
— Bay City News