Hatchet-wielding man arrested in El Cerrito pharmacy robbery

An hatchet-wielding man broke into an El Cerrito pharmacy on Monday morning and succeeded in ingesting an unknown quantity of pharmaceutical drugs before police arrested him.

A Walgreens customer at 11565 San Pablo Ave. called El Cerrito police at about 7:15 a.m. to report a suspicious person armed with an hatchet trying to get into the store's pharmacy.

Five officers and a police dog responded shortly afterward, but by that time, the suspect had entered the store and threatened employees with the hatchet and demanded that they not call police, police said. The store's employees had fled the store while the suspect used the hatchet to break into the pharmacy office, which was not yet open.

Police discovered the suspect in the pharmacy office. According to police, he had smashed through the glass pharmacy door and blocked the entrance behind him with a large computer server tower.

The suspect ignored officers' orders to surrender, police said.

They saw that he was actively ingesting a sizable quantity of pharmaceuticals inside the pharmacy office. Police have not determined what drugs he took.

Officers cleared the blocked door and entered the pharmacy, and the suspect responded by locking himself in a restroom inside the pharmacy office and still refused to surrender, according to police.

Officers entered the restroom, confronted the suspect, and attempted to arrest him, which resulted in a struggle, police said. During the struggle, the suspect used fists and kicked against an officer and a police canine, according to Lt. Robert De La Campa.

After officers arrested the suspect, they discovered that he was bleeding from cuts he obtained from shattering the glass door and was also suffering from ingesting the pharmaceutical drugs, a bite from the canine, and injuries from fighting with one of the officers.

According to police, officers called an ambulance and escorted the suspect to the hospital.

No police personnel suffered any injuries during the arrest, police said. The suspect was later identified as 29-year-old Edward Barron.

Police suspect that Barron is a resident of San Francisco but he refused to give any additional information and was in a state of disorientation, De La Campa said.

According to police, Barron faces charges of robbery, burglary, battery on a police officer and police dog, resisting arrest, and being under the influence of a controlled substance. According to De La Campa, Barron has not yet been transported to jail, as he is still in the hospital.

The Police Department is currently seeking more information about Barron's identity and how he got to the Walgreens store. Anyone with information is asked to contact El Cerrito Police at (510) 215-4400.