BERKELEY -- As the two men who were shot over the weekend at Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center continue to recover, police are beginning to release details about the suspect arrested in the botched robbery.
Police said Tuesday that 25-year-old Rodeo resident Christopher James Washington was arrested early Saturday morning after officers conducted a yard-to-yard search of the area near the dance hall and found Washington hiding behind a building in the 1300 block of San Pablo Avenue.
Washington and an accomplice, who remains at large, entered the crowded hall at 1317 San Pablo Ave. about 12:05 a.m. Saturday and demanded cash from workers, police said. Managing Director Larry Chin, who has worked at the center for about 30 years, was shot in the head and another employee was struck in the arm, said club spokesman Joe Balestreri.
The incident was an eerie reminder of the 1996 fatal shooting of founder David Nadel. Police said a club patron who was ejected for rowdy behavior returned and shot Nadel; that suspect is believed to have fled to Mexico.
Chin was expected to be released from the hospital Monday, Balestreri said, and would like continue his recovery at his Concord home. The other employee, who has worked at Ashkenaz for about five years, underwent an operation Sunday and is expected to fully recover, Balestreri added.
The dance hall, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last week, is an international music and dance venue and teaching center. A planned Saturday night concert continued as planned, preceded by a community gathering to send thoughts and prayers to the victims.
The violent robbery has prompted Ashkenaz staff to re-evaluate their security policies, Balestreri said, including considering adding security staff and having less cash out. A security camera at the front door captured some of the incident and the footage has been given to Berkeley police investigators, he said.
Those wishing to send donations or get well letters can find contact information on the center's website at www.ashkenaz.com.
Washington faces charges of robbery, attempted murder, discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony causing great bodily injury and discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony. He is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
Anyone with any information about the robbery and shooting is asked to call the Berkeley Police Department at 510-981-5742 or 510-981-5900. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Bay City News Service contributed to this report. Contract Katie Nelson at 925-945-4780 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.