A  homeless man known by many neighbors and business owners on 24th Street was found dead today around midday in the parking lot at 24th and Capp Street. Witnesses say he had been sleeping behind a truck and likely died in his sleep.

For about an hour and a half, police had cordoned off the parking lot until employees of the Medical Examiner’s arrived on-scene to take away the body at 2:45 p.m. An officer on scene said they were investigating a death and it wasn’t considered a crime scene.

A crowd of witnesses gathered on the corner as the police worked to remove the body from where it was lying behind a parked truck. Several witnesses said the victim was a Salvadoran immigrant who had been in the Mission for many years and lived on the streets.

“He was friendly and everyone knew him,” said Joaquin Palacio who owns a J. J. Jewelers on 24th and South Van Ness. Palacio identified the man as Carlos Flores and said he was between 40 and 50 years old. The victim’s name and age could not be confirmed with police.

Palacio said that it appears the victim, who often drank on the street,  fell asleep between two trucks in the parking lot.

Francisco Morales Garcia, a friend of Flores, had known his longtime friend was sleeping behind the truck in the corner of the 24th Street lot. When he went to check on him around noon, Flores was unresponsive.

“His body was stiff like a tree,” said Morales Garcia. “His leg was inflamed.”

Morales-Garcia didn’t know how long Flores had been sleeping there, but witnesses on-scene suspect that he had been there during Monday night’s cold rain. Officials have not yet commented on the cause of death.

“He always talked to everybody, he was always sweeping the streets,” said Albert Denavides, a resident of 24th Street. “All the residents knew him, this is a big surprise.”

Blankets and pillows left behind following the death of a homeless man on 24th and Capp. Photo by Daniel Hirsch.

Blankets and pillows left behind following the death of a homeless man on 24th and Capp. Photo by Daniel Hirsch.