Onlookers from above.

En Español

The victim lay on the sidewalk, in front of an arcade machine filled with stuffed animals. Around him were seven patrol cars, 20 cops, two ambulances, one fire truck and a throng of curious onlookers. He was wrapped in an incongruously cheerful yellow body bag.

Victim lies in the rain on Mission Street, wrapped in a yellow plastic body bag.

Police could be seen though the open door of the Mission Grocery, behind the victim, interviewing witnesses and reviewing security camera footage. The doors to the building above the crime scene were being guarded by police until all the residents could be interviewed. In the windows above, children could be seen peering through the curtains down at the street.

Police identified the victim as a 30-year-old black male. Sergeant Michael Andraychak said that two male suspects fired on the victim at 6:15 before fleeing on foot. Andraychak said the suspects were not in police custody.

“I was at home, I heard four gunshots, and I ran outside,” said one onlooker. He arrived at 6:20 to find the body in the street, surrounded by paramedics. They stopped performing CPR at 6:25, he said.

It was still raining, but not the ragged lightning storm of earlier in the afternoon. Upon closer examination, the body bag was not a body bag at all — just an improvised shroud made of yellow plastic weighted down at the edges with telephone books. When the rain hit the plastic it made a disconcerting, almost musical sound.

Police on 2128 Mission street 30 minutes after shots were fired.

“I do not know what happened,” said another onlooker, not unkindly. “But if I did I wouldn’t tell you.”

UPDATE: 11/21/10 8:17 p.m.

“It’s probably gangs,” says Officer Alejandrino. “But who knows?”

He’s standing outside an SFPD Mobile Command Center, a glossy red and white truck parked ten blocks away from the Mission Police Station, on 24th Street between Van Ness and Capp. The truck has been there since 3 p.m. today. Its purpose for  being there? “Just to let the residents and shopkeepers know that we’re around,” he says. Last night’s murder, combined with the shooting this Tuesday at 25th and Capp is more shooting than usual – even though all suspects remain at large, and it is not yet known if the attacks were related.

In the absence of a more conclusive solution, this is how it stands: more officers patrolling the Mission, and the glowing white interior of the Mobile Command Center, which can function essentially as an auxiliary police station. “We can run warrants out of here,” says Alejandrino. “We can move this anywhere.

“Things may be quiet now, but this could all change in a heartbeat.”

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Caroline Bins recently parachuted into the Mission from Amsterdam and has already climbed into a San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority vehicle with city workers to discuss the neighborhood. One of them, Amaya, was born and raised here. She explains she used to hang with the wrong crowd and also shares her favorite Mission salsa venues with her.

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  1. Heather, that is interesting. Why then did the ambulance speed away from the scene with sirens blaring? The timing was accurate – about 10 minutes after arriving, the ambulance was gone…

  2. This was really sad i never saw a murdered person on a rainy cold night it was like a sad movie set …that was my first time in the streets of San Fran too …four loud shoots i was right across the street at the thrift store talking to a worker about cabage patch dolls ,she started shaking after the shots ,some other custumer thought it was tires popped there was no way im from santa ana and i hear them ,but can’t believe i saw the outcome …what happend to all the flowers san fran!!!

  3. sfmissionman, you are right, and I’m sure there are other reasons people don’t want to get involved (I just get tired of seeing people look the other way because they’re just used to the neighborhood being crappy and thinking there’s nothing they can do to make it any better (like report a crime – even anonymously) which is why I (mistakenly) mentioned only apathy… my bad…

    My main point was that we cannot necessarily blame the police for what we may perceive as a slow response without knowing whether someone actually called them to report it, or quite frankly without knowing what else they were dealing with at the time. Who knows, this may sound unlikely, but there may have been some other crime occurring elsewhere in the mission that there were dealing with at the same time…

  4. Dean – Just talked to Troy Dangerfield over at SFPD Media Relations. He says that if there’s a report of shots being fired, a squad car is sent out to investigate. But if there’s no evidence of a bullet going into something – a spent casing, a car covered in bullet holes, etc, then no police report is filed. So it sounds like the cops in question didn’t find that evidence, which is why they told Octavio that they didn’t have any record of gunfire at that location. This is why it’s really interesting having you all weigh in about what you saw and heard – you often have information that doesn’t make it into official reports.

  5. In many cases, people “don’t want to get involved” not because of apathy, but because of intimidation. They want to avoid becoming the next victim, and they don’t want to alienate the network which supplies their drugs.

  6. Walked past this. And right before I thought “Eh I’ll take the short way home on Mission vs. Valencia”. Just goes to show that this one particular block between 16th/17th on Mish is always sketch, sadly.

    Also, a celebrity spotting at this crime scene! Chuck Platt, Bass player of now defunct Santa Cruz Punk Rock band Good Riddance.

    All in all an eventful walk home .

  7. Just had another thought too… what if noone called 911 for 10 minutes? I see alot of apathetic, don’t-want-to-get-involved-in-anything people out there!

  8. To state another obvious, Moserman23, (and not to stick up for the Po or anything), but I’m guessing that police who are on duty and could respond to something are not just sitting at the police station. But 10 minutes is way too long to respond to a shooting….

  9. That is interesting – since after we heard the 3 shots (probably 100-150 yards away), it was a few minutes before two SFPD cars were there, then the fire truck, then the ambulance. Five minutes later that ambulance rolled northbound, and all was back to ‘normal’ after 10 minutes. This was at about 10pm on Friday night

  10. Dean – we followed up with the police department, but no word as to what the shots were that you mentioned. Jorge – we stopped by the Mobile Command Center. They said that they were definitely there because of the shootings this week, and did say that it was probably gang-related, and unlikely to be focused on ethnicity. Thank you both for commenting, and I’m updating the article to reflect this.

  11. hello –

    does anyone know about the gunshots later that night near Gracias Madre restaurant? This is between 18th and 19th. We were eating in there and heard three shots around 10pm. I can’t find any news on this shooting however.

  12. Very loud gun,I thought it was firecrackers at first because there was no ‘crack’ to the sound.Must have been a big gun.Not a cop to be seen for 10 minutes then a massive parade of police,ambulances,etc.Meanwhile the shooter could be in Timbuktoo. What a shame.

  13. I was in the neighborhood at the time. Fine article reflecting the human issues and atmosphere. So, a cut above the major rags.

    Four rapid shots. We just kept shopping, wondering what to buy and who had been taken out.

  14. Having grown up in the Mission I’m not surprised, but continued to be saddened by this type of news. Unfortunately, there is more poverty than ever which leads to drugs and crime. If you live in the area, watch and protect your children, and keep them off the streets at night.