In an "insulated" neighborhood near Tilden Park in the Berkeley hills, a local man was left dead Saturday night after confronting a trespasser with a history of mental illness. The victim, 67-year-old Peter Cukor, and his wife had been returning home around 9:45 p.m. Saturday evening when they saw the suspect, 23-year-old Jordan Dewitt of Alameda, lurking around their garage. Cukor told the suspect to leave, but when Cukor came back outside the suspect attacked him, brutally beating the homeowner with a potted plant.
According to the Chronicle, Cukor had originally called a non-emergency line to report the trespassing, but Berkeley police had been keeping an eye on an Occupy Oakland march on the campus of UC Berkeley and were only responding to high-priority calls. At least one officer told his dispatcher he would check out the trespassing call, but was told not to go, the Chroncile reports. Berkeley PD officers only responded to the address after Cukor's wife heard her husband screaming from the yard and witnessed Dewitt beating her husband and dragging him in to the bushes.
Officers attempted to administer first aid, but Cukor was pronounced dead after being taken to a nearby hospital. Dewitt, meanwhile, was found by a Berkeley police officer less than a block away. He was booked on suspicion of murder and is being held without bail. According to Dewitt's mother, Candy Dewitt, her son had a history of mental illness, but was unable to find help.
The homicide is Berkeley's second of 2012.