Francisco Cornejo and Francisco Peña, the two victims of a shooting spree in which police suspect gang activity, spent Sunday afternoon watching the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks on Peña’s 43-inch television in the Mission District apartment he shared with his mother.
At some point, the men walked eight blocks to Papa Potrero’s Pizza on 24th Street and Potrero Avenue to grab something to eat.
“He was with the other friend who also died there,” said Peña’s mother, who did not want to be identified.
Around 4 p.m., shots were fired inside the pizza parlor. Witnesses said that along with other diners, the 26-year-old Cornejo ran from the restaurant, collapsed a few feet away, and died on 24th Street.
The 41-year-old Peña died at the hospital, and a third victim, who has not been identified, remains in the hospital recovering from non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.
Police said on Monday that Andrés Siordia, 19, was one of two suspects arrested within minutes of the shooting. Siordia, who was questioned earlier in the weekend about Friday night’s shooting, will be charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, according to police. A second suspect, a 16-year-old, is in juvenile custody.
Family and friends of the two men who were fatally shot said the victims were not affiliated with gangs. Others disagreed, and police said the Friday and Sundays shootings — the first three homicides of the year in the Mission District — were gang-related.
Peña’s mother spoke to reporters at her home on Monday. “My son received two shots. One in the heart,” she said as she sat in her living room, still taking in the events of the last 24 hours. “I think that’s the one that killed him.”
Peña, who neighbors said was well liked, had a 7-month-old son and worked as a delivery truck driver.
Neighbor Justin Fraser, 39, said that he and Peña, who many knew as Frank, bonded over being new fathers. Peña’s only son, Frank Jr., was born in February.
“The first thing you see when you look at Frank is that he’s a rough- and tough-looking guy,” said Fraser. “He was also a father, a neighbor, a friend, and a good guy.”
As police swarmed the area on Monday, families coped with the loss of two men, and the reality that at least one other young man from the neighborhood was a murder suspect.
Siordia’s grandmother said she was at a nearby restaurant on Sunday when she saw several men, including her grandson, running down 24th Street.
“I asked him, ‘What’s going on?” and he said, ‘Oh, there are shots being fired over there,’” Siordia’s grandmother said Monday. “I said go inside and don’t come out.”
Minutes later, several armed police entered Casa Sanchez along 24th Street looking for suspects. They later arrested Siordia in his house, his grandmother said.
Police were asking him, “Why were you running?” his grandmother said. “Well anybody would run. They were not going to stand [where shots are being fired].”
The 72-year-old woman, who helped raised Siordia, said detectives arrested her grandson and then returned later Sunday evening to search her home. Siordia called her Monday morning and said he would be in court in two days.
The suspect’s grandmother showed reporters the piles of clothes, shoes and notebooks police scattered during the search of her two-story home.
The grandmother talked about the Friday shooting, saying Siordia was out celebrating the completion of his GED. He was riding in the limousine where Michael Sanchez, a repeated violator of the city’s gang injunction, according to police, was shot and killed.
“He said he didn’t know anything. He was inside the limousine … a car drove by and pop, pop, pop,” she said, describing Friday’s shooting.
A blue graduation gown and a picture of Jesus hung on his bedroom door. He had begun work at a recycling company, a job he found through the school GED program, she said.
His grandmother said she now fears for his life.
“I don’t know if it’s better for him to be [in jail] or to come home,” she said, putting her face in her hands.
Just a few blocks away from the suspect’s home, friends and family of the 26-year-old Cornejo created a memorial on 24th Street, setting out religious candles and bouquets with stargazers, red and white roses, and carnations. Passersby stopped to look at the memorial. One woman made a cross over her forehead as she walked by.
“It’s really sad,” said Cesar, a local resident who did not know Cornejo but heard about the killings. “The loss is regrettable.”
Two of Cornejo’s friends stared at the memorial, still shocked at the news.
“I found out today. I’m angry at the way it was handled. They say he was exposed for a while, ” said Jesse Tello, referring to Cornejo’s body, which on Sunday was left for hours on the sidewalk, covered with a yellow tarp.
“He was a good guy. Realistically, he didn’t get involved in any gang activity. He was a cool-ass person. He was always laughing, always joking,” said Tello, who had known Cornejo since elementary school.
Also there was Karina Ek, who described Cornejo as an outgoing and spontaneous man who worked various jobs.
“He loved sports. Giants’ games and Niners’ games. That’s how I usually would catch him,” added Tello.
A second memorial for both men was put up at George’s Market near Peña’s lifelong home on the corner of 24th and Shotwell streets. There, dismayed friends placed flowers. From late afternoon until evening, friends and passersby stopped at the makeshift memorial where photographs of the two men were placed side by side.
One man, a self-identified Norteño gang member, told Mission Loc@l reporters that the victims were not affiliated with gangs but were well known in the community.
“Frank [Peña] is not a gang member,” the man said.
Peña was described by his mother as a loving father and devoted sports fan who passionately cheered for the 49ers during games.
“I use to tell him be quiet, be quiet. There’s no need to scream,” Peña’s mother recalled.
“He’d tell me, ‘Mom, we’re winning.’”
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Homicide Detail (415-553-1145) during regular business hours and/or the Confidential Tip Line (415-575-4444). Callers may also use Text-a-Tip to remain anonymous.
Vanessa Carr and Amanda Martinez contributed to this report.