What began as a pre-dawn arrest of a suspected prowler in a Berkeley street on Saturday (16 June) ended in a terrifying four-hour siege, and the deaths of three people...
What began as a pre-dawn arrest of a suspected prowler in a Berkeley street on Saturday (16 June) ended in a terrifying four-hour siege, and the deaths of three people...the suspect, a policeman, and a four-year-old girl.
The man who killed the policeman and the little girl was 34-year-old Ernest Silus. He was shot and fatally wounded by police as he ran from the house where he'd kept a couple and the girl hostage.
The violence started when 26-year-old Stephen Levine called police to report a prowler outside his house. When he went outside, armed with an axe, he saw the prowler on the ground grappling with a policeman trying to handcuff him. Silus shot the policeman twice with the policeman's own gun. Silus rushed into a two-storey house and held two people hostage. Police ringed the house and Silus demanded someone be sent in to free him from the handcuffs. The police sent in his own wife, but minutes later, there was a single shot. Silus had shot a four-year-old girl, and three people including his wife, ran from the house.
A police marksman fired three rifle shots at Silus from a house next door. One of them hit Silus, and he collapsed.
At the scene of the shooting, the father of the dead girl spoke with newsmen. He was unable to explain what happened.