The homeless encampment at 16th and Harrison Streets where Allison Sparrow lived. The woman was murdered on Friday. Photo by Laura Waxmann

Allison Sparrow, a 33-year-old woman, was the victim of a homicide early Friday morning near the homeless encampment at 16th and Harrison streets where she had been living for several months.

SFPD spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza said that Sparrow, a “homeless female” was found unresponsive when police responded to a call around 6:30 a.m. on Friday.

She was transported to San Francisco General Hospital where she died of her injuries. Esparza said the manner of death was not immediately clear, but they consider it a homicide.

“It was unclear to officers if she was shot or stabbed, the medical examiner is investigating to determine the cause of death,” Esparza said this morning.

Other sources from the encampment said that Sparrow had been shot.  She had been living in a tent with her boyfriend in the encampment for several months, they said.   

Roger Boyd, a homeless man who previously lived at the encampment, said that he was friends with the couple.

“They were some of the coolest people I’ve met since I’ve been out here, I took a shining to them,” he said. Boyd said that he lived with the couple for about two months, and that Sparrow and her partner were going through “tough times” after their tent was removed earlier this month.  

“Allie was an extremely sweet and beautiful person, she was new to all of this,” said Boyd. He is unsure what happened to Sparrow’s partner, but said he believes that the man was picked up by his family.

An employee at a printing and shipping company with a direct view of the encampment said that he arrived at work around 5 a.m. Friday and that sometime between then and 6 a.m. he heard a single gunshot.  

“I heard a bang, it sounded like one shot,” said the man. The gate of the store was locked up, and the employee said that he did not step outside to see what had happened.

The shipping company’s recently retired general manager, Ron Ross, said that when he arrived an hour later to look for parking,  he saw a swath of police cars at the intersection.

“There were quite a bit of cop cars and the medical examiner was out there,” said Ross, adding that police had cut a hole into a “white tent.” The tent, which he believes belonged to the couple, has since been removed, but Ross said that a neighboring tent “went ablaze” last night.

“It’s depressing what’s happening in this neighborhood,” Ross added.

An employee at Public Storage on Harrison and 16th streets said that police came into the store to review surveillance footage as she clocked into work Friday at around 9:oo a.m.

“That’s when I found out that somebody died early in the morning. It’s crazy around here,” the woman said.

Another person named Tamara said she had met Sparrow a few times while watching her uncle’s tent, which was also located at the encampment. “Everybody knew her, she was very cool,” said Tamara. “She was the average white girl wearing glasses. She didn’t belong here.”

With an investigation pending, police officers said they are unable to provide any further details about Sparrow’s death, but that witnesses are asked to step forward.

This is the third homicide in the Mission area in two weeks, following the shooting deaths of Hector Salvador at 16th and Hoff streets on December 6 and 17-year-old Miguel Alvarez just outside the Mission on December 9.

A previous version of this story indicated that officials said the victim was shot. A relative and sources at the scene gave this information, not the police or the Medical Examiner. The story has been updated to reflect this. We regret the error.

Police are calling on the public’s help to provide information about the homicide. This can be done anonymously by calling 415-575-4444, or by texting a tip to TIP411 and beginning the text with SFPD. For those who do not have access to a cellphone, a tip may be submitted in person at the Mission Police Station at 630 Valencia St., on the corner of 17th Street.

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