Homeless Man Dies on a Castro Sidewalk

Photo courtesy of Eder Melo (@miglu_miglu)

An apparently homeless man, estimated to be in his mid 30s, was found dead on Noe and 18th streets shortly before noon today.

Mindy Talmadge, a fire department spokesperson, said that a call came in around 11:24 a.m. reporting that a man was lying near a local 7-Eleven. Firefighters arrived a few minutes later to find EMTs on the scene giving the man CPR.  It appears that he was already dead.

By 1:30 p.m., the man’s body had been covered by a tarp and attended by police officers as they awaited the arrival of the Medical Examiner.

From early today until the homeless man died, different nearby residents saw him and some stopped to check to see if he was breathing. One even called 311 at 10 a.m., but no one showed up.

Kevin Larson, a nearby resident, said he saw the man wrapped in a blanket and lying on the sidewalk when he brought his trash out today at 5:30 a.m.  Karl Kopplin, a bartender at Last Call, said he arrived at work at around 9:30 a.m. and also noticed the man, but noted he was still moving around and appeared to be sleeping.

Ion Coman, a local resident and bar patron, said “a posse” of homeless people are often seen in the area, but that he didn’t recognize the man as part of the group he usually sees. He said there wasn’t any sign that the man was disruptive to the neighborhood.

“I guess we’re becoming like New York,” Coman said. “Nobody calls the cops anymore, we’re heartless now.”

Sheryl Leong, another nearby resident,  saw the man this morning on her way out at around 10 a.m.  She said it wasn’t unusual for people to lay on the sidewalk but that she didn’t recognize the man. She called 311 to report the man’s presence but nobody came to investigate further.

At around 10 or so, Larson, the other neighbor, went back out and saw that the man had moved to the shade and pulled the blanket away from his head. At around 11 a.m., Larson said he heard another man walking down the street with a dog ask the homeless man if he was doing alright. Larson said he heard the dog-walker announce he was going to call someone, but by the time EMTs arrived, the man had died.

It is not unusual in the Mission District and the Castro to see men sleeping on the sidewalk.  Some appear to have passed out; others are camping out.  For those passed out, pedestrians often lean down to see if the person’s chest is moving up and down and then move on.

“(The neighbors) have all come together to figure out what to do and how to help them,” said Leong about the people she sees sleeping on the street in her neighborhood. “We even contacted Castro Care to help the community.”

The city’s last count showed homeless growing slightly to 6, 686.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner has yet to release any information about the death — a spokesperson said the office does not release any information until the next of kin has been notified.

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  1. SFHArry

    I live in the Castro and around a month ago called 911 to report a man on the sidewalk unconscious. I waited about 25 minutes, saw about 5 ambulances drive by on Market and still no one came to check on this man. Eventually he woke up enough for me to find out that he had not had a stroke and was not in the need of assistance so I went to the gym. About 45 minutes later when I left the gym he was still there and an ambulance had still not come.

  2. i walk through the Mission to BART and there are often men sleeping on the sidewalk. Many are not even homeless – just guys who got too drunk to make it home. If we all stopped to check every guy lying on the sidewalk to see if he was OK – we would never get to work, and the men lying there would get angry at being woken up all the time. It’s not “heartless” – it’s just life in 21st century America.

  3. Chris Tan

    Lives of homeless people in SF are worthless. It is very sad but it is a fact. We need another Beyoncé here who will donate and build those homeless shelters for them.

  4. We’re not heartless, there are a lot of people who care and do report such issues asking for police or HOT team help… Many additional layers of help is available through Castro Cares, a local program funded by locals. The other side of the coin not considered is those living on the street who refuse services or other help that could make a difference in their situation. We need to put some backstops in place to get them into help, consent or not.

  5. Mary Calpin

    The poor get poorer when the rich get richer

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