Man holds police at bay with pit bull dog in Berkeley

A section of University Avenue was closed by police on Monday while they dealt with a man resisting arrest. Photo: Nat Harry

A Berkeley man with a history of arrests kept police at bay with a pit bull dog on University Avenue Monday until two police negotiators talked him into surrendering.

The confrontation went on for more than an hour and police closed a section of University in the 2000 block near the old UC Theater while it was ongoing.

Eventually they arrested 37-year-old Austin White on charges of trespassing, threatening a police officer and illegal lodging in a public place, said police spokeswoman Jenn Coats.

According to Coats, 14 Berkeley officers were involved in the incident, including two with special training in negotiation.

“It happened to be that they were on duty at the time and they have a special skill set that was used in this situation and they were able to resolve the situation peacefully,” she said.

Coats said police responded to a call Monday morning at 11:24 when a suspect was seen spray-painting BART property in the 2100 block of Shattuck Avenue. At 1:50 p.m., police saw the suspect walking in the area. They attempted to arrest him, but he fled on foot and backed into a doorway and used his pit bull to keep officers away.

White was arrested at around 3:00 p.m. No one was hurt during the incident and there were no reported injuries. The dog was released to a friend of White’s, according to Coats.

Coats said White has been “problematic” in downtown Berkeley and at People’s Park for at least a year. He has been arrested previously for fighting, trespassing and sleeping in parks.

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LEMON GROVE: 8-month-old infant killed in pitbull attack

An infant boy was mauled and killed by up to three dogs Thursday evening, according to the sheriff’s department.

Authorities said the dog attack involving three pitbulls happened just before 5 p.m. on the 3000-block of West Street in Lemon Grove, according to North County Times’ media partner NBC San Diego.

Deputies responded to the attack and when they arrived, a woman was holding an injured 8-month-old baby boy. Deputies requested homicide investigators at the scene.

By Thursday night, sheriffs confirmed the infant involved in the dog attack had died shortly after being transported to Rady Children’s Hospital.

As of Friday morning, no arrests were made in the case, Lt. Larry Nesbit with the Sheriff’s Department.

Neighbor Regina Marlow said she was shocked when they found out about the attack.

“I can’t even imagine losing a child and to know that a family pet did it,” Marlow said. “That’s horrific. I can’t even imagine what the family would be going through.”

Another neighbor Deirdra Canty said the dogs have been known to attack cats before.

“I don’t think that a dog like a pit bull, rottweiler, large dogs should be around little infants,” Canty said.

Authorities confirmed a total of three pitbulls were hauled away at the scene by Animal Control officers.

This is the youngest victim of a fatal dog attack that the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is aware of, Nesbit said.

“They were aggressive,” Nesbit said. “They were restrained by animal control officers with the tools they have.”