Berkeley engineer arrested for allegedly attempting to poison, kill colleague

A Lafayette man has been charged with attempting to fatally poison his engineer colleague over a period of several years, court records show.

Police arrested David Xu, a 34-year-old senior materials engineer at Berkeley Engineering and Research, on Thursday evening.

Since 2017, Xu had allegedly been trying to poison a coworker to death by putting cadmium, a toxic metal, in her food and water, court records show.

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The documents said the woman, also an engineer, sometimes noticed “a strange taste or smell from her water and food” after she had left it unattended in her office. Upon consumption, the woman experienced “immediate and significant health problems” and sometimes sought hospital care. Last year, two of the victim’s relatives who drank from her water bottle also got sick.

Surveillance footage obtained by police reportedly shows Xu pouring a substance into the woman’s water bottle on Feb. 11 and March 4, Berkeleyside reported. Water samples taken from the bottles on those dates tested positive for a toxic amount of cadmium. Blood samples from the victim and her two relatives showed elevated levels of cadmium in their systems.

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Xu is being held without bail in Berkeley City Jail, court records show. He was charged with three felonies, including premeditated attempted murder resulting in great bodily injury. His arraignment is set for April 2 in Oakland.

Berkeley police would not comment on the case because it remains under investigation.

Xu completed a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at UC Berkeley in 2012 and passed the State of California’s Professional Engineering examination a year later, the San Francisco Business Times announced in 2013.

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This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/david-xu-berkeley-engineer-poison-colleague-13733523.php.

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