Was Gun Fire Necessary, Ask Some on Florida St.

On the same day that the suspect in Saturday’s police shooting appeared in court Wednesday, some residents of Florida Street wondered whether the police officer’s decision to open fire on the suspect made sense.

“There are kids on this block,” said one resident who has lived on the block for more than 15 years, but asked not to be identified. “Why did they think it was okay to open fire?”

The block between 25th and 26th streets on Florida where the incident occurred includes Hilltop High School, a beautiful low-rise Spanish style campus, and a mix of well-kept duplexes and small homes with a few mid-sized apartment houses. Two residents said that children are often playing outside.

Their doubts about the wisdom of shooting at the suspect’s vehicle intensified as police acknowledged that the bullet that went through Officer Adam Shaw’s left bicep as he approached the suspect’s vehicle, could have come from shots fired by his partner.

“We don’t have the bullet recovered from the left bicep and without that bullet it would be difficult to conclusively say what firearm it came from,” said Officer Gordon Shyy. “We don’t have a gun recovered from the suspect.”

In court on Wednesday, Jeffrey Ruano’s lawyer, public defender Stephen Olmo argued that it was Shaw’s partner who hit him in the shoulder. When Ruano was arrested on Sunday morning, he had no firearm, but allegedly had a 38-caliber cartridge. Officers use a 40-caliber cartridge.

No bullet has been found at the scene.

Residents said that police returned to Florida Street on Tuesday to search again for the spent bullet. Shyy said they did not find anything.

Shaw and his partner responded on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. to a call for “malicious mischief” and approached the suspect who was in his vehicle. Both officers were out of their car and walking toward the suspect’s car when the shooting began.

It’s unclear how close they got to the vehicle before the driver began to back up. When he did, Shaw’s partner began to shoot, according to police who said they have one witness who says the suspect fired off a shot.

Officer Shyy said it was unclear how far Shaw and his partner were from the car or how far Shaw was from the suspect’s window. “I don’t know exactly how close he was to the window,” he said. “Inches or a couple of feet.”

“Why couldn’t they just call for assistance and follow the car,” asked the resident. “A lot of things don’t seem to jive.”

Another mother of young children said that a young man had been shot down nearby about a year ago, but both residents agreed that Saturday’s incident was the biggest police action their street had seen. Police officers in squad cars and motorcycles as well as the fire and sheriff’s department all arrived at the Saturday scene.

Shaw is recovering from surgery and there were no other injuries.

52 Comments

  1. Sky

    “We don’t have the bullet recovered from the bicep” sure sounds like there was a bullet recovered from the bicep but that it has gone missing? I mean, “we don’t have the thing recovered” sounds like “a thing was recovered but we do not have it.” Was it in the bicep to be recovered or was it through-and-though and this is just unfortunately misleading word choice?

  2. John

    The police have well-defined rules of engagement for using their firearms. A vehicle being used as a weapon, let alone being fired upon, would normally be deemed grounds for the use of deadly force.

    So I am not clear if you are arguing that those rules were not followed here. Or whether the rules are wrong and should be changed.

    There is a separate question there about whether cops should immobolize a suspect who is seeking to flee the scene, either by foot or by car. There are clear dangers to a high-speed police chase through busy urban streets, and so there must surely be an argument for immobilizing a suspect as soon as possible, rather than initiating a chase with an unknown outcome.

    Since at least one witness says the police did not shoot first, those questions may be moot anyway.

  3. Pamela

    Good work SFPD for catching this scumbag!
    The police were getting shot at which is a good reason to shoot back.
    That stretch is one of the most crime infested areas of the Mission. Police are constantly called. The photo belies what it actually looks like.
    Be glad the police even went there as it clearly is a risk to their safety.

    • nutrisystem

      Yes, Pamela, you are spot on.

      This area is very dangerous. I advise all douchebag entreprenurial types to stay away for their own safety.

      • marcos

        Back in the 1990s we used to tell unsuspecting douche tourists that there was this fantastic restaurant in the Mission called Valencia Gardens. Doesn’t look like much on the outside, but if you go in, you’ll have the meal of your life, a real slice of San Francsicana.

        • John

          No you didn’t. you just wish that you had.

          • marcos

            You have no knowledge of what I did in the past.

          • John

            You’re sadder than I thought if you thought it was funny to place tourists in danger.

            But you’re lying.

          • marcos

            If it is good enough for poor people under San Francisco’s first black mayor, it should be good enough for tourists!

          • John

            VG got pulled down and now there are million dollar condos across the corner from there, while the criminal denizens of that ghetto project have been dispersed.

            Result.

        • marcos

          Yet we’ll never know what happened to those tourists…

          • John

            We do know because it never happened. Just marcos being outrageous for the sake of it because his political career lies in ruins because of his own excesses and inability to work with others.

            Historical revisionist fantasies are all you have left, dude. It’s beyond sad.

      • John

        You don’t need to live in an area to invest in it.

        And if you use a property manager or onsite manager, you don’t even have to ever visit it.

        Usually the shootings are just gang members shooting each other anyway.

        • nutrisystem

          …or the police shooting each other.

          • John

            Any evidence for that or is it just the preferred speculation of a criminal-loving cop-hater?

        • C. Russo

          The mindset of a slumlord.

          • John

            nutrisystem was the one who gleefully claimed that successful people can’t feel safe on those blocks.

            I live in the Mission, albeit west and north of there.

            I have always kept my buildings in good shape because it is cheaper in the long run not to defer maintenance. What I don’t do is improve a unit except when I have a vacancy – SOP under rent control.

    • nutrisystem

      I believe it was the CHP that made the arrest.

      • John

        Based on the investigative work by SFPD, presumably?

        Obviously it would not be SFPD arresting a suspect who had left the city.

    • MissionBernal

      “The photo belies what it actually looks like”

      The big fat finger blocking the shot doesn’t help. Common Mission Local, get it together!

  4. marcos

    At least if the cops can’t put themselves in danger to keep us safe, they are putting themselves in danger to put themselves in danger. Nice work.

  5. NFS

    Police say a suspect fired, ostensibly a witness says the same. Not a fan of cops, but until/unless other evidence comes out, I’ll err on the side of the cops in this one.

    • landline

      The police haven’t said that the suspect fired, only the bystander witness has said that. The DA hasn’t charged the suspect with using a gun, only a car as a deadly weapon.

      This incident is almost certainly friendly fire which unnecessarily put civilians at risk and almost killed the SFPD officer. Bad training and bad aim are a poor combination.

      • ThatGuy

        You realize there were MANY hours between shooting and arrest. The gun could be anywhere.

        • landline

          The gun is in the injured officer’s partner’s holster. Did the SFPD not find any spent rounds or just the one that passed through the injured officer? How many shots did the shooting officer take? Just one? Tens of cops were at the crime scene for hours, but had to return on Tuesday, three days later, to look further for bullets after opening the crime scene to the public.

          So many parts of this story don’t compute, allowing the PD to shoot holes through it, pun intended.

          • John

            You obvious want to believe that even though there is no evidence for it.

            Even if it was friendly fire, that doesn’t mean that opening fire wasn’t justified.

            The slimeball is charged with multiple felonies including firearms charges, so he is going away for a LONG time.

            Good.

          • ThatGuy

            Let the evidence come out.

  6. Reality Checker

    Has anyone determined what kind of “malicious mischief” they were supposedly up to?

  7. landline

    The residents of both the old and new Valencia Gardens are our neighbors and deserve better than to be stereotyped as criminal denizens of a ghetto by bigoted, racist, ignorant people.

    • John

      Valencia Gardens was torn down because of its excessive crime, blight and social issues. Rationalizing that away out of an ideological obsession with everything that is bad and wrong in the world doesn’t change the facts.

      It was a fetid dump.

      • John

        Any argument that relies on the premise that public housing in SF is a great success is in more trouble than they know.

        Few policies have been more successful or popular with the voters over the last couple of decades that demolishing the projects. The reduction in crime in those areas has been little short of stunning.

        • marcos

          The SFHA has never been about providing shelter, it has been an endpoint for extractive corruption.

          • John

            The whole chain from top to bottom is flawed both in practice and in principle.

            When a concept is ideologically misguided, when it is managed by idiots, where the fiscals are doomed, and where the clients are mostly welfare cases, then you are going to see failure.

            The only government housing policy that works, apart from GNMA, is Section 8 housing vouchers. They target only those who need it (unlike rent control) and allow the private sector to provide the investment and the services.

            Cities should not be in the business of building homes or being landlords.

          • marcos

            Ideologically misguided. Time for some reeducation camps, huh?

          • John

            If you’re taking sides with SFHA, you cannot be saved.

  8. City

    SFPD ARE FUCKING SCUM BAGS!!!!!!CURRUPT, HOOKER FUCKING DRUG ADDICTS!!!! They work to make our day???

  9. nutrisystem

    It would be nice if the SFPD disclosed what is know so far about this case to the public – since it’s the public that paid a vast amount of money for the police response.

    A good use of internet technology would be a free, searchable database of all police activity. It’s public business, and the public has a right to know.

    • John

      The public does not have a right to know what is going on in every stage of a police investigation for an obvious reason. It potentially informs the perp of how close the police may be to them, and what they know or don’t know.

      When you need to know, I feel sure the facts will be made public. Patience, dude, patience.

      • marcos

        That which the public does have the right to know under the law, law enforcement often refuses to disclose.

        • John

          Most aspects of law enforcement embody some kind of the “need to know” code.

          Open discovery happens at trial.

          • marcos

            Civilian oversight by multiple branches of government over law enforcement is essential.

          • John

            Oversight does not extend to interference with a criminal investigation, not sharing information prematurely that is sensitive to the success of the investigation.

            And who oversees the overseers? There is a real danger of anti-cop bias in the kind of people who want to do that job.

          • marcos

            Oversight is necessary because the SFPD has proven by its record that it needs the hand holding.

          • John

            I’ve seen no evidence that interference causes more good than harm. but if I didn’t care how many crooks get away with it, maybe i’d think differently.

          • marcos

            We would not know because the SFPD jealously guards its unaccountable independence.

          • John

            I’m comfortable with the degree of latitude that the majority gives to law enforcement, and understand what that is necessary to give them the power and flexibility needed to catch the bad guys.

  10. marcos

    Must you hijack every policy thread with your personal impressions? Nobody cares.

    • John

      Must you hijack every policy thread with your personal impressions? Nobody cares.

      • Ken

        Real adult. Nice.

        • John

          He does that every time he feels himself losing a debate i.e. tries to turn the other party into the topic rather than engaging the real issue.

          It’s important that he gets called out on it and, on this occasions, I felt a little gentle satire got the goods.

          • marcos

            There is no debate here, no contest, nobody winning one or losing one. You are simply not that important.

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