Two plainclothes officers who walked into a crime in progress on Thursday night shot and killed a man they said was armed with a knife.  The victim, witnesses told police, was chasing another man on Folsom at 9:45 p.m. He had allegedly been trying to steal the man’s bicycle.

“According to several witnesses, the officers ordered the suspect to drop the knife,” wrote Sergeant Monica Macdonald in a description of the incident. “The situation escalated and the officers fired at the suspect.”

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the officers “fired between four and six times, which is consistent with the casings recovered from the scene.”

It appears that both officers fired their weapons, according to police. The plainclothes officers had their department-issued stars visible on their outermost garments,” police reported.

“The officers will be placed on paid administrative leave per department policy,” Macdonald wrote. The incident is being investigated by the SFPD homicide detail, the SF District Attorney’s office, and SFPD Internal Affairs.

So far, police investigators have found that the slain suspect was attempting to rob the victim of his bicycle. “The victim was not injured and thanked officers for intervening,” Macdonald wrote.

Police are withholding the slain man’s name until his next of kin have been notified.

“We anticipate holding a town hall meeting sometime early next week, as is customary after an officer involved shooting,” Macdonald wrote.

Rusty Hodge, who was nearby,  wrote in an e-mail, “I was walking down 24th, approaching Harrison, when I heard four shots in close succession. The sound came from the direction of Folsom, and sounded close.

“I stopped and looked around to see what was happening. There was an SFPD car heading west on 24th, and within seconds it turned on its lights and siren and sped west. Within 20 more seconds there were a lot more sirens; I could see cars coming from the north on Harrison and see others approaching Folsom from the west on 24th.”

Officers quickly sealed off the blocks from 23rd to 25th Streets and from Shotwell to the other side of Folsom Street. Other nearby residents said they heard three shots.

Photo by George Lipp

Photo by George Lipp