Transient Arrested For Caustic Chemical Attack on UC Berkeley Employee

A transient was arrested for allegedly throwing industrial cleaning chemicals at a University of California at Berkeley employee in Wheeler Hall earlier this month.

Berkeley police arrested William Kearney, 62, after he wandered into the department on Saturday, according to university police Sgt. Andrew Tucker.

UC Berkeley PD
William Kearney

Kearney was not there to turn himself in, but police found that he matched arrest warrants from university police, Tucker said.

Kearney was arrested on suspicion of assault with caustic chemicals and for failing to register as a sex offender in a separate attack.

Tucker said the victim of the attack was "shaken" and had minor to moderate chemical burns, but she was grateful to hear Kearney had been arrested.

The assault happened on April 4 when the woman encountered Kearney in a restroom at Wheeler Hall. She asked him to leave the bathroom because the building was closed, but he allegedly threw the caustic chemical at her and fled.

Tucker said Wheeler Hall has various locks but people "wander in and out" and it is unclear when Kearney entered the building.

Kearney is known in Berkeley for several cases, and he is being held on no bail at Santa Rita Jail, according to Tucker.

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