Suspect in Golden Gate Park stabbing surrenders to police

A transient has turned himself in for stabbing a 19-year-old man in a popular area of Golden Gate Park on Tuesday, police said.

Nicholas Berner, a 23-year-old New York native, surrendered to cops Wednesday afternoon, police said. Police say he stabbed the 19-year-old Eugene, Ore., native twice — once in the back and once in the arm — at Alvord Lake near Haight and Stanyan streets around 6:10 p.m.

The victim survived the attack. After the stabbing, Berner allegedly fled the scene with a male accomplice. A police sergeant recognized the pair by their descriptions and called for a manhunt.

Cops found and detained the accomplice Wednesday morning, police said. They questioned him, released him, then later in the day Berner surrendered, police said.

He was booked at Park Station for assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

The stabbing is the latest in a string of violent incidents in The City’s most popular park. Transients are known to hang out in the area where the stabbing occurred.

On Sunday, a man walking his dog found a body and severed arm on the south side of the Polo Field, at Middle and Martin Luther King Jr. drives, police said. The area is known to have homeless encampments, but it is not clear if there is any connection between them and the body.

Authorities have not identified the body or revealed how the arm was removed, but they said both were already decomposing when found. An investigation is ongoing.

In another alarming incident in late August, a 53-year-old homeless man was found beaten to death at Kezar Stadium near the Park Police Station.

In July, two unleashed dogs owned by transients attacked three people in the park, sending them to a hospital.

Also that month, 25-year-old transient Adam Noyes was allegedly stabbed in the heart by a fellow transient, 65-year-old Richard Ray, near the Conservatory of Flowers. Ray, who has said Noyes attacked him first, flagged down a passing car after the incident near John F. Kennedy and Conservatory drives. Ray has been charged with murder.

The incidents exacerbate controversial city-policy battles regarding the handling of San Francisco’s large transient population. In July, the Recreation and Park Department added a “special daily evening patrol,” and police stepped up efforts to patrol the eastern portions of the park and near the Conservatory of Flowers.

Also, officials are considering closing the park from 1 to 5 a.m. daily to root out illegal camping. The move would allow police to charge campers and late-night loiterers with trespassing.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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