Saturday 1 October 2016

Berkeley tragedy: Police were called to apartment over noise - but were diverted to a shooting

Brian Hutton

Published 16/06/2015 | 23:33

The fourth-floor balcony at the apartment complex collapsed onto the one below
The fourth-floor balcony at the apartment complex collapsed onto the one below
Debris and rubble is seen behind a police corden on the pavement under the balcony
Stunned onlookers at the scene of the tragedy

Police were called to the tragic birthday party in Berkeley less than an hour before the balcony crashed - but did not go because of a reported shooting elsewhere in the city.

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A neighbour made a complaint about the noise from the fourth floor apartment at Library Gardens at 12.02am local time - eight hours behind UK and Ireland time.

Debris and rubble is seen behind a police corden on the pavement under the balcony
Debris and rubble is seen behind a police corden on the pavement under the balcony
A Dublin flag and flowers form a memorial to the victims
Inspectors examine the collapsed balcony from the top of a crane at the scene of the tragedy in Berkeley, California

But police chief Mike Meehan said they never attended because four minutes later they were called to the scene of reported gunfire in south Berkeley. This reported incident was obviously prioritised, he said.

Read more here: Live: Irish J1 students killed in Berkeley balcony collapse  

Two students embrace while watching the removal of a body of one of the deceased. Photo: AP
Two students embrace while watching the removal of a body of one of the deceased. Photo: AP
The Berkeley campanile

Once the balcony was reported collapsed, shortly after 12.40, officers were on the scene within two minutes.

The police chief said there is no evidence of foul play or criminality at this stage of their inquiries.

Berkeley City mayor Tom Bates vowed "not to leave any rock unturned" in investigating the causes of the collapse.

Read more here: Berkeley tragedy: Six students who died in tragedy have been named  

He said it was a wake up call at a time when many other buildings were under construction in the city.

The property management company said the owner was an entity called Blackrock.

Inspection histories as well as other records on the building are being reviewed.

Authorities have vowed to make the records public.

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