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“I was just telling the poor stranded motorist not to worry and that this was a safe neighborhood,” said Officer Green from the Mission Station.

Green, who had just returned to duty in the Mission four days ago, had pulled over to to talk to the woman because she was double-parked at 14th and Guerrero. She told him that her car had broken down, that a tow truck was on its way, and that she was nervous waiting there with her four-year-old child. Would he please hang around until the tow truck showed up? He obliged.

“And then,” said Green, “someone started shooting.” It was 7:29 p.m. The shooters were standing across the street, at Rosa Parks and Guerrero, apparently trying to take out a car that was driving by. They missed.

Green called it in and ran after the shooters, who turned and ran into the projects, disappearing into a crowd of panicked people who emerged from their homes at the sounds of gunfire. None of them had any information to share with Green about what might have happened.

Six squad cars arrived at the scene in less than a minute, Green said. “Which is impressive,” he added,” because it was a particularly crowded day today, what with the Folsom Street Fair and all.”

They recovered four bullet casings from the scene, and one bullet from a car parked on the street, which had been shot through the roof. When asked how someone could manage to shoot a parked car through the roof, Green replied, “It’s easy if you have bad shooting technique.”

A few onlookers started to give descriptions of the shooters, then immediately retracted them. “They’re probably relatives of the people of the people that live there. And people don’t want their relatives arrested,” Green said, not unkindly.

“From what I understand, when they reopened Valencia Gardens, they did a pretty thorough screening of the residents. But problems drift over. Different groups try to claim the neighborhood as their turf. People’s kids get caught up in gangs. And the way it was explained to me, people are also very afraid of reprisals. The residents who spoke to me did seem genuinely bitter, and wanted it to stop.”

Many thanks to the readers who sent us information and details about the shootings. If you have any more to share, please send it to staff@missionlocal.org.

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Heather Smith covers a beat that spans health, food, and the environment, as well as shootings, stabbings, various small fires, and shouting matches at public meetings. She is a 2007 Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism and a contributor to the book Infinite City.

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  1. I’ve been at Guerrero and 14th for 7 years now, and the new Valencia Gardens has been great up ’til now — seems like a great place for the families that live there. Hope they can get what sounds like some bad apples out soon. I have noticed that things seem to have gone a little downhill in the past 6 months to a year. Wish we could do something as a neighborhood.

  2. Most residents there are great. Only a few bad househoulds near rosa parks and guerrero. Once they finally are removed gang members will lose there safe haven and hopefully move on.

  3. I lived at 14th & Guerrero for over 15 years and never had a problem with the projects. I did, however have a number of problems with a few neanderthal, white guys in my apartment complex.