A 22-year-old cook at the restaurant Hog & Rocks was shot and critically wounded at 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday as he smoked a cigarette on San Carlos, just around the corner from the restaurant, witnesses said.
Police say that it looks like a case of mistaken identity, and they are still searching for two male suspects, approximately 25 years old.
“The two suspects believed that the victim was a gang member and that isn’t the case,” Officer Carlos Manfredi said.
The two suspects were seen fleeing westbound on 19th Street, Manfredi said. Witnesses told authorities that they were both wearing dark clothing and hoodies.
Hog & Rocks owner David Esler said the kitchen had just closed and a few employees were cleaning up when the shooting occurred. The male victim, whose name has not been released, was standing in front of a garage next to the restaurant when the two suspects approached him. The victim had been working at the restaurant for approximately six months, Esler said.
A witness who lives in the building above Hogs & Rocks said she heard two young men ask the cook if he was in a gang. “No, no,” the cook responded.
Then she heard two gunshots. “They were loud gunshots, someone screamed, ‘Call the police,'” she said, still shaken from the experience. “I ran out and he was shot in the head.”
The witness said there was a lot of blood, and the victim appeared to be lying on the ground. It looked to her like he might not have survived, but Hogs & Rocks’ owner said today that the employee is still alive, although in critical condition. The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, according to authorities.
“I’m shocked; this is a nice area. I haven’t heard a gunshot in three or four years,” said Michael Hammash, a buser at Hog & Rocks who has lived in the building for 14 years.
Esler said that although there was a shooting at 19th and Mission Streets recently, crime in the area is down compared to when he first opened the restaurant in July 2010.
“Police need to be around here more,” Esler said.
The last fatal gang-related shooting happened in February at 17th and Mission streets.
We are following this story and will update later.
A source told Mission Loc@l that the victim of the shooting had two children but he later informed us that the information was incorrect. This article has been corrected.