Altar briefly erected at the corner of 16th and Rondel streets

A 19-year-old man, identified as Jose Escobar by the San Francisco medical examiner, was shot and killed near 16th and Valencia streets early Saturday morning, police said. Neighbors and merchants fear the homicide shows a resurgence of gang violence along 16th Street.

Three merchants who asked that their names not be used for fear of retribution told Mission Local it’s common knowledge that Sureño gang members hang out in groups along 16th, a street flush with nightlife.

Escobar was standing on the corner of 16th and Caledonia shortly before 3 a.m. when he was approached by a suspect who shot him in the upper torso, said San Francisco police spokesman Albie Ezparza. The suspects fled in a car heading east on 16th Street. No description of the suspects is available.

Authorities had first reported that the victim was 22 years old. Police have not said whether the incident was gang-related, but Virginia Nielsen of Comunidad San Dimas, an organization that works with youth in jails, said that it was.

Nielsen, who was Escobar’s spiritual mentor at juvenile hall for three years, said he had been trying to turn his life around.

“He was a very positive kid,” she said. “He saw his future with a lot of joy.”

Escobar had just graduated from high school and dreamed of being a civil engineer, she said.

The gang is believed to be responsible for the unprovoked murder of Lorenzo Jimenez in June, Police Chief Greg Suhr told Mission Local earlier this year. A gang member was also involved in the fatal shooting of a cook at Hog & Rocks last year and the shooting of a pizzeria worker in July.

A group of Escobar’s friends, who knew him as “goofy,” created an altar with candles, flowers and empty bottles of beer early Saturday morning at 16th and Rondel streets. By Sunday night, the altar had been taken down. All that remained was a box of flowers and a few candles.

“He didn’t have a chance,” Nielsen said. “He didn’t have any opportunities.”

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Rigoberto Hernandez

Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

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  1. RIP BOO!!! U was my cousin who i hadnt seem in Years…we looked for u for years and it breaks my heart that we found u again but on the news :”( may you rest in peace WE LOVE U BOO!!! The Molina family XOXO

  2. I passed by esta noche night club on my way down to mission street… Its very sad to have seen his friends the same i had seen the the night before standing there and temebering him. May he rest in peace and may his family be able to find some light through this terrible storm

  3. RIP Jose
    Once again District 9 Supervisor Campos is being very quiet. He needs to get his head out of the sand, look around, & do whatever it takes to get rid of these gangs that are continuously terrorizing the neighborhood. How many more deaths before he takes notice?!

    1. Can’t blame Campos here — the Police Chief was virtually incoherent at the community meeting last month on Potrero, and the Captain doesn’t seem to want to add police patrols to the street, just officers in cars and claims of undercover police, that no one can verify. Four years ago, we had a real response after the violence such as police out on weekends in really numbers, but really it was the Feds that stepped in and arrested the M13 members. That stopped everything for a while. Where is an updated gang injunction? informal substations along 16th and 24th?

  4. he was a young man, still a teen! Not fair to call him a man when he was very young, not even 20! he was trying to change his life around and doing it successful. rip to all my latinos lost to violence. no more need to go.