Person arrested in Berkeley homicide
by Seth Hemmelgarn
A person who reportedly uses gender non-specific pronouns has been arrested in the homicide of one Berkeley woman and the stabbing of another.
Pablo Gomez Jr., of North Hollywood, California, was arrested by Burbank police and is in custody in a Los Angeles County jail. L.A. County sheriff's records list Gomez's age as 22. Police said Gomez is 24.
The news site Berkeleyside reported that according to a friend, "Gomez Jr. uses the pronoun 'they.'" Use of the pronoun often indicates that someone is gender non-conforming.
According to a Berkeley Police Department community alert, officers responded to an 11:42 a.m. call Friday, January 6 to the 2600 block of Ridge Road to make contact with a woman who'd apparently been stabbed and was "seriously wounded."
Police gave her medical attention until the Berkeley Fire Department arrived and took her to a hospital. As of Friday night, she was in "stable condition," police said.
While they were investigating that incident, officers were led to a location in the 2400 block of Ashby Avenue.
"It was clear that based on the evidence found at the scene, a violent crime had occurred there," police said. "It wasn't until much later that the body of an as of yet, unidentified person was discovered."
As homicide detectives followed leads, Gomez became "the primary suspect" for both incidents.
"A witness who saw him earlier in the day reported that he had shaved his head which may have been done in an effort to alter his appearance," police said. In their alert, police said, "Gomez is believed to be armed and a danger to the community."
Berkeleyside reported that the victim who died has been identified as Emilie Inman, 27, of Berkeley, "who did not know her killer." A technician with the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau told the Bay Area Reporter Wednesday, January 11 that she could not yet confirm the name of the victim.
Sergeant Claudio Losacco, a Burbank police spokesman, said his agency arrested Gomez around 1 p.m. Saturday, January 7. Losacco, who didn't have information on Gomez's sexual orientation or gender identity, referred inquiries to Berkeley police, where Sergeant Andrew Frankel didn't respond to emailed questions about a possible motive or how Gomez knew the victims.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department who didn't provide their name said in an email that since their agency didn't have details about the case or Gomez's arrest. Jail records list Gomez's sex as male.
"At this time it is unknown when [Gomez] will be transported to Alameda County; his transfer will be determined by the county where the incident occurred and extradition statutes," the sheriff's spokesperson said.
They added that Twin Towers Correctional Facility, where Gomez is being held without bail "is considered a medical housing facility," and because of medical privacy laws, the agency can't release specific housing information.
On Facebook, Gomez is a member of groups including the Gender Equity Resource Center, which is based at UC Berkeley and addresses LGBTQ and other issues, and Oakland Queer + Trans Open Mic: Spectrum Queer Media.
Billy Curtis, the resource center's executive director, didn't respond to an interview request Wednesday morning.