Five Shooting Victims Were Friends, Had Just Played a Game of Pool

Inside the Tin Tan, another morning shift is beginning.

Inside the Tin Tan, another morning shift is beginning.

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“They weren’t gang members,” says Cristina Gomez, firmly. “They were good guys. They all had jobs.”

Gomez, a kind-faced woman with brilliant blonde hair and the dramatically painted eyebrows of a 40s starlet, is the owner of El Tin Tan and knew the men as regulars. They had just finished playing a game of pool, she said, and stepped outside to go home.

Last night at around 11:05, five men were shot outside El Tin Tan. According to police, the gunmen were two men in their early 20s, driving a red late-model TransAm. The car was seen speeding away north on Julian toward 14th. “That’s where they always run to,” says Gomez, “because it’s the darkest street. I don’t know why they don’t put in lighting there.”

All five men survived the shooting, but one remains in critical condition.

“Well, look at that,” says Gomez’s son, Dave. He’s holding a squashed bullet, found on the sidewalk outside. The dim light glints off the copper casing.

Behind the two, women bustle in the bar’s kitchen, getting ready for the morning shift. A photograph of Pope John Paul II hangs on one wall, looking benevolently in the direction of a Mayan disc, several soccer jerseys and a painting of a Pre-Raphaelite couple looking mushily at one another. A man and a woman arrive, order two shots, and open up their breakfast menus. Someone has taken down the sign that was taped on the front door when Gomez arrived this morning, a sheet of paper stuck up with blue painter’s tape, on which someone had scrawled “Close this Scuz-hole.”

Outside the bar at opening this morning, the usual Corona pail for cigarette butts, and a hand-written sign.

“They say there were 50 or 60 shots, at least,” says Gomez. “I heard there were casings all over the street.”

Are so many shots possible with a handgun? According to Officer Albie Esparza, yes. Police believe that both men in the car were shooting, and may also have been using illegal magazine clips, like those used in the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona. Such clips can hold 30 rounds. According to the analysis done by police so far, the spent cartridges are from a handgun.

“We saw about the shooting on the news this morning,” says the woman, looking over her menu. Both of them live nearby, and still came in for breakfast. “This is more like the Mission of 10 years ago,” says the man. “Not now.”

Outside, an enormous white ABC News van with a person bent over a laptop and a foil-wrapped burrito on the dashboard is joined by two others.

Why these men? Why here? Gomez speculates that the shooting was part of a gang initiation. “I never walk around this place at night,” she says, sighing. “I live in South San Francisco. Where it’s quiet. Near the cemetery.”

“You can’t,” she says, “change the streets.”

NOTE: The kind folks at Mission Mission pointed out this article we published in 2009, which covers El Tin Tan’s role as a legendary meeting place for newly arrived immigrants from Mexico.

Filed under: Front Page, Trouble

16 Comments

  1. You spelled “cemetery” incorrectly.

    • Thank you – all of you for offering your corrections. I asked Heather to do this story very quickly this morning and to post before another editor read it because I was on a BART train and our copy editor could not get to it right away. Generally, you are all close readers and we welcome that – you save us from having errors up for too long. But I hope you also appreciate Heather’s quick turnaround and getting the news to you fast. Best, Lydia

  2. SCUM

    You might want to reread this and edit.

  3. heather

    This is a terrible thing to have happened, but I am seriously tired of reading the stories on here that have clearly not been edited. Poor grammar, poor syntax and the clear lack of anyone at Mission Local just doing a quick read through of the posted articles are the hallmark on here. Do you need an editor? I would be happy to take on that role if you don’t have anyone handy to do it. As far as the content (I’m still puzzled over the Cupcakes and Gangs map that you recently posted), you’re on your own there, my friends.

  4. Heather Smith Post author

    Hey all,

    Apologies. Someone did copyedit this story, and I made an error in correcting her edits of my errors. Sigh. Your comments are much appreciated.

    • wordy

      Much to every copy editor’s chagrin.

    • marco

      We’re you “correcting” her edits, or were you putting back your errors? Anyway, thanks for getting this story out so quickly.

    • marco

      Were you “correcting” her edits, or were you putting back your errors? Anyway, thanks for getting this story out so quickly!

  5. Also, “aluminum-wrapped burrito” should be hyphenated

  6. mission-resident

    I, for one, am substantially more alarmed by these kind of neighborhood events (particularly by how brash they seem to be lately) than your article’s omission of hyphens.

  7. MLA

    I’m continually shocked by the atrocious writing in the Bay Area media. Rough draft or final copy, amateur or professional; this is pathetic.

  8. DONT GIVE ME NO BAMMER

    it’s a sureno bar. ever seen a northerner in or around there unless they are kickin up dirt or putting in work!?!?!

  9. Kevin

    I’m a bit appalled at all the angry comments over the grammar problems in the story. Do these people think that if you make spelling mistakes, you’re just making the whole story up? I think correct grammar/spelling is important, but I also think the news value and getting it out in a speedy fashion is more important. And MLA, the reason you’re so upset with the poor quality of writing in Bay Area media (I’m assuming you mean grammar problems, etc., but maybe you’re expecting people who write New Yorker level to work for pennies) is that the publishers are fewer and fewer and are more concerned with pleasing their stockholders than paying reporters/editors a decent wage. It’s McMedia. Sorry to break it to you.

  10. tru mision rez

    AS FAR AS THAT BAR BEING A “SURENO” BAR, LMAO, BAMMER COMMENT, THAT SPOT IS A STRAIGHT PAISA BAR, I WALK BY THAT SPOT EVERYDAY WHEN IM ON MY WAY TO MY ABUELA’S, IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT A “SURENO” BAR, THEN ITS SKYLARK NEAR THE CORNER OF 16TH AND VALENCIA, AND AS “NORTHERNERS (THE FUNNIEST OF ALL WORDS, SO AMERICAN, LMAO)” GO IN THAT AREA, THERE ISNT ANY, UNLESS YOU COUNT NATOMA AND THEY HAVENT BEEN ABOUT SHIT SINCE THE 90′S, CRIMES ARE GETTING “BOLDER”?, LMAO, GO BACK TO THE LATE 80′S, 90′S AND EARLY TO MID 2000′S, THATS WHEN GANG VIOLENCE WAS CRAZY, NOT LIKE NOW, IF YOU’RE AN ADULT FROM YOUR MID 20′S AND UP AND YOU ADVOCATE AND PROMOTE VIOLENCE AGAINST PEOPLE AND A MAJORITY OF YOU DONT KNOW WHAT EITHER SIDE STANDS FOR, YOU’RE A PATHETIC FUCK, REAL TALK, I FLEW THAT RED FLAG, BUT, EVERYTHING GETS OLD, NOTHING MORE SAD THAN AN OLD TIRED SO CALLED O.G STILL TRYING TO RUN IN A YOUNG MANS GAME AND PROMOTING BULLSHIT STORIES AND POINTS OF VIEW, BLIND LEADING THE BLIND.

  11. ls

    Well, I’m happy to be leaving this neighborhood as soon as possible. I’m tired of the Latino community that won’t police its own and control its problems and I’m tired of the apathetic white assholes who don’t care about crime as long as white people aren’t getting shot. I’m done with this.

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