The two young children were playing video games in the front room of their home at the corner of 23rd and Shotwell streets on Friday night when they heard the gunshots. It was 7:22 p.m.
“Get out!” screamed their grandmother before ushering the children to the back of the house. Hearing people cry for help, the children’s mother ran outside to find a group surrounding the 39-year-old victim, who was later pronounced dead from gunshot wounds at San Francisco General Hospital. The victim has been identified as Ronald Monzon, of Newman, reports the SF Examiner.
That such a violent incident could happen so early in the evening, when people were likely to be outside, has left many in the family-heavy area shaken.
“I usually would be coming home around that time after picking [my daughter] up,” said the mother, who asked not to be identified, as the young girl described the bang of the gunshots.
“Kids are out at that time,” said Maximo, whose family lives only a few doors down from where the victim was found. Anyone would be frightened, he said.
Other neighbors recalled hearing six shots and then a loud car crash. After he was shot, the victim, who had been driving down Shotwell Street, collided with a parked white Honda at the corner of 23rd Street. Teresa, a neighbor, said she heard another car speed away shortly after the shots were fired. As of late Friday night, police could provide no description of a suspect and no motive for the shooting.
Relatives of the victim were looking for answers Saturday morning as they talked to neighbors who gathered in front of a makeshift memorial next to two damaged cars that remained at the scene. Blood stains could still be seen on the street.
One neighbor hung flowers and a sign calling for no more violence on a light pole that already held the picture of 26-year-old Reynaldo Cordova, who was killed in the Mission in October. The homicide is the second in the Mission District this year, following Richard Sprague’s death at the end of February.
Roger Marenco knelt at the scene, taking pictures of the damage to his sister’s car, the white Honda that was hit after the shooting. His six-year-old niece, who lives with him just a few doors down, stood by his side.
“She was home. She heard it happen,” Marenco said. “She sees the blood on the street. It’s scary, especially because of how young she is. She shouldn’t be exposed to this kind of incident.”
Erika McDonald, who also lives down the street, didn’t hear the shots but was eating dinner with her family when the homicide occurred. McDonald has a 4-year-old daughter who goes to preschool in the neighborhood and whom she takes to Parque Ninos Unidos just a block away.
“You don’t want to be caught in the crossfire,” said McDonald.
The homicide comes just one day after a 6:30 p.m. stabbing on Oakwood Street between 18th and 19th that left two young men in life-threatening condition. Neighbors on Oakwood Street were similarly upset by the early-evening violence.
Jose Vargas lives on Oakwood Street and has two daughters. He recognizes that violence occurs in the Mission, but it hadn’t seemed so apparent until recently. His next-door neighbor was Sprague, the man who died last month after his cries for help were ignored. And on Thursday, Vargas returned home just after 6:30 p.m. to find his block taken over by police.
“It’s unsettling and it’s alarming,” Vargas said.
When Alina returned to 23rd and Shotwell streets around 9 last night and had to be escorted past police tape into her home, she also felt unsettled. The victim’s car, which Alina said police towed around midnight, was still on the street.
“The police shined a flashlight into the car that was here and it was just covered with blood,” said a noticeably shaken Alina, who has only lived in the Mission since December.
She and other neighbors have no illusions about the violence in their neighborhood.
Marenco, whose sister owns the white Honda, said he tries to make sure the kids are inside before sunset. But even that might not be enough if violence is occurring so early.
“This is not a quiet neighborhood,” said the grandmother of the children who were playing when the shots rang out. “This kind of stuff happens all the time,” she said, adding the she has witnessed similar violent incidents in the past.