A 67-year-old El Cerrito man reported as a missing person in that city parked at the bucolic and extremely popular Environmental Education Center in Tilden Park and killed himself in his car Friday, an East Bay Park District spokesperson confirmed.
Park District spokesperson Carolyn Jones said police and fire were called to the parking lot at the center at 2:34 p.m. and that a man was found dead inside a Subaru station wagon parked there. He was pronounced dead by Berkeley firefighters at 3:10 p.m., according to Jones.
She said that a park user and his family were near the car, heard no shot, but could see the man “reclined in the front seat, with a gun in his hand” and promptly notified police. No one else was hurt in the shooting, and a suicide note was found in the man’s home.
East Bay Regional Park District police are on the scene. The normally busy center, especially popular with children and families on days such as this one, was hushed as officers sealed off the area to begin their investigation.
Jones said the education center, home to farm animals and learning center popular with children, is a major attraction at the park and is usually quite crowded – especially on fair days.
She stressed that the incident appeared to be a suicide and that no threat was presented to the general public, but said the parks have seen a spike in suicides of late, with a 21-year-old man drowning after jumping from a boat into Lake Chabot last weekend.