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Berkeley balcony collapse: Police were called to birthday party an hour before tragedy - but did not go because of shooting elsewhere

Published 17/06/2015

Toni Mikulka places flowers at a makeshift memorial for victims of the balcony collapse (AP)
Toni Mikulka places flowers at a makeshift memorial for victims of the balcony collapse (AP)
The Irish students killed in the Berkeley balcony collapse: Eoghan Culligan, Nick Schuster, Lorcán Miller, Eimear Walsh and Olivia Burke, all 21 years old and friends from south Dublin. The sixth fatality is Irish-American Ashley Donohoe (22), from California.
Police examine the scene of a balcony collapse in Berkeley, Calif. on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Shocked people gather at the scene
The remains of the balcony
An emergency worker with a body
Two students comfort each other at the scene of the tragedy
Police at the scene of a balcony collapse at an apartment building near UC Berkeley on June 16, 2015 in Berkeley (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A group stands in the lobby at Highland Hospital, where some victims from a balcony that collapsed were taken (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Rubble and plastic cups line a sidewalk below the area where a fourth floor balcony collapsed in Berkeley (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Police were called to the tragic birthday party in Berkeley less than an hour before the balcony crashed - but did not go because of a reported shooting elsewhere in the city.

A neighbour made a complaint about the noise from the fourth floor apartment at Library Gardens at 12.02am local time - eight hours behind UK and Ireland time.

But police chief Mike Meehan said they never attended because four minutes later they were called to the scene of reported gunfire in south Berkeley. This reported incident was obviously prioritised, he said.

Once the balcony was reported collapsed, shortly after 12.40, officers were on the scene within two minutes.

The police chief said there is no evidence of foul play or criminality at this stage of their inquiries.

Berkeley City mayor Tom Bates vowed "not to leave any rock unturned" in investigating the causes of the collapse.

He said it was a wake up call at a time when many other buildings were under construction in the city.

The property management company said the owner was an entity called Blackrock.

Inspection histories as well as other records on the building are being reviewed.

Authorities have vowed to make the records public.

Read more:

Berkeley balcony collapse: Injured survivors could face big medical costs despite insurance  

Berkeley balcony collapse: 'We thought it was an earthquake - a really big one'  

Berkeley balcony collapse: City rallies round Irish students and families on a dark day in California  

Berkeley balcony collapse: Officials begin three investigations into what caused tragedy  

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