Off-duty SFPD officer who shot at driver in Berkeley took hour to call local police

Surveillance video captured Officer Michael Shavers driving his vehicle on the 800 block of Eastshore Highway in Berkeley near the scene of the shooting he was allegedly involved in. (Courtesy Berkeley Police Department)

An off-duty officer who shot at another driver during a possible road rage incident in Berkeley did not report the shooting to local police for more than an hour, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

Officer Michael Shavers, a 13-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, fired a single bullet at the other driver near Eastshore Highway and Hearst Avenue at around 3:42 p.m. on Sept. 13, 2019.

Shavers later told police he shot at the other driver because the man may have pointed a gun at him, according to police reports obtained by the Examiner through a public records request.

But he did not call Berkeley Police Department to report the shooting until 4:53 p.m. despite the alleged gunman speeding away.

Instead, Shavers left the scene and called his union representative with the San Francisco Police Officers Association. He then talked to his attorney for about 25 minutes before notifying his captain and finally calling police.

Shavers declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday.

His attorney, Don Nobles, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Shavers was reassigned to the Special Operations Bureau after the shooting and remains under administrative investigation, according to Sgt. Michael Andraychak, an SFPD spokesperson.

This is the first time that details of the police shooting have been publicly reported.

It’s unclear whether the other driver was shot. Berkeley police never found a gunshot victim despite searching local hospitals.

In November, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Shavers.

But questions remain as to why the shooting was not immediately reported to authorities.

SFPD’s policy for off-duty police shootings that occur outside of San Francisco requires officers to “remain at the scene of the discharge and notify the law enforcement agency.”

The policy also requires officers to “immediately contact” a supervisor, and to contact the “senior ranking member on duty in the bureau” as soon as practical.

Another policy requires an officer to notify his supervisor “immediately or as soon as practical of any reportable use of force.”

The first time BPD learned about the incident was nearly an hour after it occurred, when SFPOA President Tony Montoya called dispatch at 4:41 p.m. and asked whether an “officer-involved shooting” had been reported.

When the dispatcher responded no, Montoya said Shavers was “ordered to notify you guys immediately.”

“Apparently he is no longer at the scene of the location,” Montoya said. “He’s been directed to go back and call you.”

Montoya was among a number of SFPD officers including internal affairs investigators who responded to the scene.

Twelve minutes after Montoya’s call, Shavers called dispatch and said he was “just involved in an OIS” that happened “a little before” 4 p.m.

‘Under attack’

Shavers later explained what happened to a BPD investigator.

After working an overtime shift, Shavers said he was driving his white Cadillac Escalade to pick up his kids from school.

He had just gotten off the freeway when a reckless driver unsuccessfully tried to pass him in the emergency lane.

After the driver blew through a stop sign and stopped at another intersection, Shavers pulled up next to the car with his window down.

Shavers said he stopped next to the car because he thought the driver may be having a “medical emergency.”

“What’s up man?” Shavers told the driver, putting his hands up in the air.

The other driver responded, “We ain’t playing games out here, N—,” according to Shavers.

“What caught my attention was that I could see his arm moving around like he was reaching for something,” Shavers told BPD.

Shavers said he unholstered his department-issued pistol and pointed it at the other car, holding the weapon beneath his window and out of sight.

The other driver then leaned back and extended his arm out the window toward Shavers’ Cadillac, he said.

“I saw something reflect and I thought it was a gun and I thought I was about to be shot,” Shavers said.

Shavers said he then leaned back and fired a round out of his window, prompting the other driver to speed away “extremely recklessly.”

Shavers searched the area to see if the driver had been struck by the bullet or crashed his car, he said. He also tried to get a license plate.

With no luck finding the other driver, Shavers said he drove to his son’s school in another city.

“I was in a state of panic and I contacted the POA rep and from there they started making notifications and then I spoke to my attorney shortly after, all this while responding back to the scene,” Shavers told the investigator.

“And then after I was done talking to my attorney, then I contacted you guys,” he added. “I believe I called the non-emergency number at that point because you know, a decent amount of time had elapsed. I figured it wasn’t worthy of calling 911.”

When asked whether he saw a gun, Shavers said he did not. But Shavers told the investigator he believed he was the victim of an “assault.”

“I saw something reflect,” Shavers said. “If it was a gun or something else, I don’t know what it was but I remembered seeing something in his arm extended toward me, made me feel like I was under attack and that’s why I returned fire in defense of my life.”

mbarba@sfexaminer

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