Providing fresh updates on the recent rash of shootings, Mission Station Police Captain Robert Moser told a community meeting last night that Tuesday’s shooting on South Van Ness Avenue was committed during a robbery, but the Oct. 20 homicide at 16th Street and Caledonia was gang-related.
Moser told residents gathered at Mission Station Tuesday evening that he is boosting his violence reduction operations with more patrols, and bringing in officers from other stations to “saturate” the Mission District.
Moser declined to elaborate on the 16th Street and Caledonia gang-related shooting during a Wednesday interview, but from his briefing it’s clear the station is now engaged in fighting battles on several fronts.
Sunday night’s World Series win for the San Francisco Giants thrust Mission Station police officers into a street battle to subdue violent crowds and fires along Mission Street, Moser told a packed community meeting that drew residents including Supervisor David Campos.
“We had to fight forward every block … firemen behind us,” said Moser of the struggle to put out the fires along Mission Street. He said “a platoon” was formed after the second street fire was lit on Mission Street between 23rd and 24th streets.
It took Moser and his platoon about four hours to work their way along the mile-long Mission corridor from 24th Street to 16th Street, a stretch marked by nine to 10 trash fires.
Police made a total of 20 arrests that night for vandalism, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and the firing of a heavy-caliber rifle out of a window, Moser said. Damage to businesses – mainly graffiti vandalism — was concentrated on 16th Street.
Moser described that night as “a pretty sad situation … a group of individuals who came out to create mayhem.” He said that approximately 500 people came out to celebrate in the streets and dozens of those individuals threw hundreds of glass bottles at him and his officers as they worked their way down the Mission corridor.
Finally, Moser said, “we were able to take back the streets.” Officers finished their work on the streets at 3:30 a.m.
Preparing for today’s Giants parade and Halloween celebrations, Moser told residents there would be “a lot” of officers in the Mission. He added that Mission Station has a number of resources in the Mission and the Castro so that officers from both districts can respond as needed.
Campos publicly thanked Moser and Mission Station police officers for their hard work and quick response to the recent violence. “There is nothing that keeps me up more at night than violence in the neighborhood,” Campos said.
“We want to send a very clear message that we’re not going to take it,” he said, adding that he had spoken to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr about preventing further violence. “We are committing every resource to end the violence.”
Campos said that he hopes to find those who vandalized the “many struggling” businesses in the community.
Expressing concern about Halloween night in the Mission, Campos said, “To be honest, I’m very worried.”
The next big event in the Mission is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Moser said the Latin American holiday typically doesn’t create problems, but added that there would be officers available to facilitate the event.
Moser also offered details of a new volunteer citizen disaster preparedness program called Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT), which will recruit, train, credential and uniform volunteers to assist law enforcement in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The ALERT program is modeled after and is designed to work in partnership with the San Francisco Fire Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT), which trains volunteers to assist in response to natural or man-made disasters.
“It takes a tremendous amount of resources to make this work,” Moser said of the disaster response for which NERT and ALERT were designed.
To address the citywide problem of bicycle thefts, Moser told residents about a “bicycle summit” at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10 at 345 Spear St. Mission Station is working with Valencia Cyclery to teach people how to prevent bike thefts. Representatives from San Francisco SAFE will be on hand to teach about garage security, along with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the National Bike Registry and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.