Saturday, May 03, 2008

Fatal Stabbings: Unhappy Thoughts During Law Finals...

From the Chron:
"A UC Berkeley engineering student was fatally stabbed early today in a sorority parking lot a few blocks south of campus, Berkeley police said.

The 21-year-old victim, a man whose name was not immediately released, was found stabbed at about 2:45 a.m. near 2434 Warring St., police said. The victim was due to graduate later this month and start graduate school in engineering at Cal this fall, his friends said, adding that he was from Southern California."

For those not totally familiar with the area: that's about two blocks down Piedmont from the law school, and one block up Channing (the street that intersects Piedmont with a roundabout). The incident took place in the back parking lot of the Chi Omega house.

I'll update the post if there's anything more I find.


Update: further coverage from the Daily Cal (thanks to 3:40). In part

"UC Berkeley senior Chris Wootton, 21, was fatally stabbed outside his fraternity house early this morning. Wootton was found outside of Sigma Pi at 2434 Warring St., where friends say he was a member, around 2:45 a.m."


One final update: the remainder of the information has surfaced. His attacker, a Berkeley City College student, has been arrested (foiled by cell phone cameras). Pictures, his name, and more information about the altercation may be found here.

My sincerest condolences to his family and friends. This is likely going to rock the Greek world here at UC Berkeley for a long time.
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said counselors would be available to help students and staff cope with the killing. I encourage anyone (including commenter at 7:30) to take advantage of this if necessary.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christopher Wooten was his name, per

5/03/2008 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually knew Christopher Wootton as a person and it's shocking.

5/03/2008 7:30 PM  
Blogger tj said...

As an aside:

I didn't want to include this in the original post as an update, but one particular thing caught my eye.

Also from the Chron: "Paramedics transported him to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, the nearest trauma center because Highland Hospital in Oakland was already full, police said. Wootton died en route."

That's straight scary. Castro Valley is a VERY long way away. There's no closer emergency medical facility? If not, something SERIOUSLY needs to be done to remedy that.

5/03/2008 10:39 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

TJ, the key is "trauma center." While lots of hospitals nearby have ERs, e.g. Alta Bates on Ashby, a trauma center is much better equipped to handle shootings and stabbings. That doesn't change the fact that a) castro valley is far away and b) Alamedia Co. General was already full.

5/04/2008 12:32 AM  
Blogger tj said...

Armen, I guess I figured Alta Bates (or any other hospital in addition to Highland) would have a trauma center. Fortunately (knock on wood) I haven't had to test it out.

But wouldn't one think that the east bay (with all it is known for - violence, crazy drivers, etc) would have more than merely a couple trauma centers? The kid practically would have been better off being taken across the bay bridge. That's ridiculous.

5/04/2008 12:46 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...


For what it's worth, as a guy who has taken lots of patients (e.g., people like you and me who run into bad happenings) to "trauma centers," I would like to throw a couple of things out there.

Death isn't an on/off type thing -- especially for a 21 year old male. Believe me, a healthy, vibrant, young 21 year old body is going to live (with or w/o brain damage), unless things are seriously stacked against it. If this patient "died in route" then he was likely DOA for all intensive purposes, but was transported anyway. Which, right next to a college campus, makes a grim kind of sense: if you were UCB PD, would you call the corner, or demand he be transported and keep your fingers crossed for some kind of miracle?

Re. the trauma center thing: most places have fewer surgeons and trauma teams than hospitals. So , to keep full coverage, hospitals rotate trauma duty. Hospital X will be the trauma center one week, Y covers the next week, and Z the week after, and then back to X, etc. It's not like paneling, or carpet color or tax status; whether a hospital is a "trauma center" on any given night has to do with the qualifications of the personnel in house at any given time, and not the nature of the hospital itself.

I have no idea what happened in this particular incident, but one very likely scenario is that Highland Hospital was full (or "on divert") and the next available trauma team happened to be on duty in Castro Valley. That's not a product of funding, or bureaucratic snafu or political indifference -- there just aren't enough resources (surgeons) to cover for every contingency, every time, in every place. Again, I don't know the details and I hardly presume to armchair IC, but it seems very likely that no matter where the ambulance went, the result for Christopher would have been the same.

In the coming weeks, we will learn many details. We will learn how he ended up in that situation, we will learn where he was cut, how many times he was cut, how long it took for him to be found, and all kinds of other horrible, private facts. The scenario will make more and more sense for those of us who are far enough removed to discuss this in an analytical way. But the people to whom this really matters--the friends and family of the young man who lost his life this week--resolution is years away, if ever. There is no way to explain loss of life at 21 years that is both rational and satisfying, and I feel so sorry for the people close to Christopher who are going through this right now. This is a horrible, horrible thing, and now that it has happened, there is no escape. There is nothing sensible about this kind of thing. Which means, frankly, that there is nothing anyone can say.

5/04/2008 1:56 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

Patrick, excellent comment. But it's "for all intents and purposes." That one drives me nuts. More so than ATM machine.

5/04/2008 10:28 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Noted. Worse, if you use the phrase properly, "purposes" becomes redundant.

This week I also learned "risk averse" versus "risk adverse," which has already moved right up to the top of the list, along with "hot water heater" and "escape goat."

5/04/2008 10:53 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

What's wrong with hot water heater? Sometimes I just need that hot water to be a bit hotter...

5/04/2008 1:11 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Well then by all means, use a water heater!

5/04/2008 1:13 PM  
Blogger trentblase said...

Not all water heaters are hot. Some are merely fly.

5/04/2008 9:21 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

but it is fly because it is hot...

5/05/2008 10:39 AM  

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