Man charged with trafficking, kidnapping
A Richmond man has been arrested after authorities said he forced a woman into prostitution, assaulted her, then kidnapped her as she went to meet police.
Erick Ealy II, 24, was arrested on June 24 by an El Cerrito police detective, in connection with a June 3 incident during which a woman accused him of assaulting her as he demanded money that she'd earned for him.
The June 3 assault took place at a home in a northern El Cerrito residence, according to police. Ealy allegedly squeezed the victim's neck, threw her against a wall before taking cash from her handbag and fleeing.
The victim was brought to the police department, which put her touch with an organization that assists victims of sexual abuse, and given a safe place to stay.
However, after the woman missed a follow-up police interview, a detective conducted surveillance of the residence, looking for the suspect and victim.
On June 24, an El Cerrito police detective arrested Ealy. The victim told police that he had kidnapped her on her way to her police interview.
Prosecutors charged him with two counts of human trafficking, attempted human trafficking and false imprisonment with violence, kidnapping and kidnapping with injuries, pimping and conspiracy.
Ealy is being held at County Jail in Martinez on $1.6 million bail.
-- Joyce Tsai, Staff
Oakland man struck and killed by BART train
A 45-year-old Oakland man was identified as the victim struck and killed by a BART train Friday afternoon.
Richmond firefighters and BART police worked to aid the man, identified Saturday by the Contra Costa County Coroner's Office as Kevin Joseph West, after he was struck shortly before 4:35 p.m., BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said. He was declared dead at the scene.
Based on eyewitness reports, West had gotten onto the tracks on his own and then was struck by the train, according to a BART police investigation. No other details surrounding the incident were available.
The Richmond station was closed for more than three hours. The El Cerrito Del Norte station was also temporarily closed so that the tracks could be de-electrified for rescue workers, but was reopened shortly before 5:30 p.m., Trost said.
-- Joyce Tsai and Robert Rogers, Staff
Fireworks spark2-acre brush fire along canal
Fireworks apparently sparked a two-acre brush fire along the water canal near Bentley Street on Friday night.
The fire started about 9:30 p.m., with July Fourth fireworks as the suspected cause, said Capt. Robert Marshall of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
Marshall said six firefighters knocked down the blaze, however, they were unable to douse the fire right away because more fireworks were still being shot off and landing in the area, which is near the Walnut Creek border, Marshall said Friday night.
Police were sent to quell the ongoing fireworks displays. Marshall said he did not believe any arrests were made.
"We had difficulty initially because individuals continued to (shoot off) fireworks when we got there and it reignited the fire in different places," Marshall said.
The Concord fire was not the only East Bay hotspot on the July 4 holiday. Marshall estimated that more than 30 small fires were put out overnight, including one sparked by fireworks in the 3500 block of Dimaggio Way in Antioch. That fire damaged a house and a car, Marshall said.
Marshall said the number of fires in his district was slightly down from previous July Fourth holidays.
"In the big scheme of things, we dodged a bullet; we probably were a little lucky," Marshall said. "With the drought conditions, I think more people were aware of the real consequences that can come from using illegal fireworks."
-- Joyce Tsai and Robert Rogers, Staff
Palo Alto woman injured in attack outside casino
A 69-year-old Palo Alto woman says she suffered a concussion and broken kneecap after fending off an assailant outside the San Pablo Lytton Casino.
The victim, who asked not to be named, said she was leaving the casino about 8 p.m. Wednesday when a man she had spoken to at the casino's snack bar offered to walk her to her car.
The man, who she described as being well-dressed and in his mid-40s, quickly attacked her, the victim said. He put arm his around her and placed his hand under her bra before telling her to come with him to his car.
"I was in shock," the victim said. "I didn't know what to do. I yelled something at him, telling him to back off."
The victim said she struggled loose from the man and fell as she raced to her car, breaking her kneecap and hitting her head against the pavement. A good Samaritan jumped out of his car and gave her a tissue to wipe away the blood running down her face, she said.
The casino and San Pablo police did not return calls Saturday. Police confirmed to KTVU that they took a report on the incident at Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo where the victim was taken after the attack.
The victim said that a police officer showed her a surveillance camera photo of her struggling with the assailant. She recalls seeing a security guard posted outside the casino entrance and wasn't sure why the guard didn't rush to her aid. "Maybe he was looking the other way," she said. "But I'm surprised he couldn't hear me."
-- Matt Artz, Staff
PG&E: Man killed by falling power line
Gunfire sent a 12,000-volt power line and portions of a conductor tumbling to the street late Friday, killing a 19-year-old man and critically injuring his half brother who tried to help him, officials said.
Jermaine Tarver was killed when he was struck by the falling wire, and his 23-year-old half brother, Tresylian Redd was injured when he touched the wire while trying to help his brother. Redd is in critical but stable condition at a hospital.
The deadly incident happened about 11:35 p.m. Friday in the 1900 block of 89th Avenue, where police said Tarver lived.
Sgt. Mike Cardoza said there were numerous reports of gunfire and fireworks in the area and police are trying to determine if a bullet or fireworks caused the line to fall.
But Pacific Gas & Electric spokeswoman Jana Morris said that the incident was caused by gunfire, which she said caused "damage to overhead equipment, causing it to come down to the ground."
PG&E technicians arrived at the site at 11:58 p.m. but left soon after due to continued gunfire in the area, Morris said. Crews returned at 8:28 a.m. Saturday to make repairs.
Tarver's half brother was inside their home at the time but ran outside to help the younger man.
Police said Redd apparently did not see the fallen power line and was injured when he came in contact with it.
Both men were taken to a hospital where the Tarver died at 12:25 a.m. Saturday.
-- Robert Rogers and Harry Harris, Staff
Four-alarm fire damages seven homes near river
A raging fire damaged seven homes in a remote area near the Sacramento River in Solano County Friday, causing millions of dollars in damage, a fire dispatch official said Saturday.
The fire in the 1000 block of Collinsville Road was first reported just before 1:30 p.m. The fire spread to the other homes and eventually reached four alarms, with 50 firefighters from 10 fire companies assisting, a Solano County dispatcher said. By the time crews extinguished the blaze, four of the homes were total losses.
The area is about 17 miles outside of Rio Vista and seven miles south of Bird's Landing, Montezuma Fire District Chief Joe Rosewall said.
The American Red Cross assisted residents displaced by the fire, according to Rosewall.
The fire was contained between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and mop up crews finished their work at around 2 a.m.
Rosewall estimated the blaze caused an estimated $2.5 million in damage.
-- Robert Rogers, Staff; Bay City News