Dommanic Ingerson, 26, of San Leandro, was taken to the John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro on Wednesday after swimming about 400 yards across the 50-degree lake and emerging naked. Police said Ingerson jumped into the lake behind the Camron-Stanford House, a historic Victorian in the 1400 block of Lakeside Drive, about 3 p.m. and swam to the 1400 block of Lakeshore Avenue in about 35 minutes.
He was wearing black trunks or shorts when he jumped into the water but had nothing on when he came out, police said.
He was detained on suspicion of robbery and grand theft, but after a doctor's evaluation at Highland Hospital in Oakland, he was taken to the psychiatric hospital for further evaluation, police said.
Ingerson grew up in Oakland and attended McClymonds High School before transferring to Santa Barbara High School, where he graduated in 2001 and once was named "player of the year." He was a nationally ranked recruit when he received a full-ride scholarship to attend the University of Michigan, said his friend Rolando Bonilla.
At the University of Michigan, the guard spent time on the bench.
In February 2002, coach Tommy Amaker said he was "disappointed with Ingerson's play at the end of the Michigan State game," even though the game was out of reach, according to a story in the Michigan Daily. "Ingerson's body language and lack of effort was 'disturbing,' " Amaker said in the story.
In December 2002, he signed a basketball scholarship and transferred to the University of San Francisco. He began playing in the fall of 2003 and left school a semester short of graduation in 2007, a friend said.
Police and those who knew him said Ingerson has had some drug and psychiatric problems.
"I got to know him in college, he was a young man full of promise and unfortunately lacks the stability that so many of us get to enjoy each and every day," said Bonilla, a 32-year-old San Francisco man who met Ingerson at the University of San Francisco.
Oakland police robbery Sgt. Leronne Armstrong said he remembers Ingerson as a youngster playing basketball with the Police Activities League. "He was a talented basketball player," he said.
Armstrong, who used to be a patrolman in West Oakland, said he always saw the boy with a basketball and around the neighborhood gym. "He was just a normal kid," Armstrong said.
On Wednesday afternoon, police said Ingerson stole one woman's jacket in Jack London Square and another woman's purse at Broadway and Eighth Street. Neither woman was injured.
He was chased for a time by the Oakland security ambassadors, a group of people who work with Oakland police to thwart crime in the Broadway corridor, Uptown and western Lake Merritt areas. Then he jumped in the lake, which James Vann of the Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt estimated was at between 48 and 52 degrees.
The incident drew about 100 people to the edges of the lake, who watched as the man swam, idled in the water for a time and then got out to waiting officers, who handcuffed him and took him away. Bonilla said he hasn't spoken to Ingerson in about a year and didn't know about Wednesday's incident until he read a story in the Oakland Tribune.
"I was saddened to see (this happen) to a young man with lots of potential," he said.