This story has been updated with additional information.
Two people were killed in a shooting near the intersection of 16th Street and South Van Ness Avenue on Sunday night, according to police. At 8:46 p.m., police received a call and responded to the scene, where a man and woman, both between 25 and 35 years old, had been shot, a police spokesperson said. The fatal shootings bring the total number of homicide victims in the Mission District this year to nine, four of whom have been killed in the last three weeks.
The woman was pronounced dead on the scene, said Officer Giselle Talkoff, the police spokesperson. The man was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead soon afterwards.
According to a police blotter, the two suspects are men estimated to be in their 20s, and the weapon used was a handgun.
About an hour after the homicides on Sunday, at 10:04 p.m., police received a call about a 30-year-old man shot near 14th and Valencia streets. The shooting was non-life-threatening, Talkoff said, and the man was taken to the hospital. The victim was not cooperative, the police said, and was arrested while in custody for an outstanding warrant.
As of 10:45 p.m., it was unknown whether the shootings were related, Talkoff said. There was no immediate threat to public safety, she added, and said police were investigating both crime scenes and “out and about” in the area.
“It doesn’t appear that it is a threat to the public,” she said.
At midnight, the woman killed in the shooting on Shotwell Street still lay draped under a tarp on 16th Street. Police had cordoned off the area on 16th Street between the 76 gas station on the corner and the Mission Neighborhood Health Center on Shotwell Street. A man with the Medical Examiner’s office stood off to the side of the scene, smoking.
Lauren Smiley, a local reporter, was in yoga class upstairs at 16th and Mission streets when she heard the sirens going by, and couldn’t help but notice the awful irony of the two different worlds so close together.
“We were about ten minutes into Sunday night yoga class when I heard all the sirens wailing past. Never were the two Missions and two San Franciscos more clear than when young professionals (including me) are up in a studio doing corpse pose – that’s what it’s called in yoga – and then I walk out after class to see that, meanwhile, a homeless woman had been killed and was lying dead in the street,” Smiley said. “I had to go see what was going on. It just wouldn’t have felt right to get in a car and drive away from something like that.”
All that remained Monday morning at the scene were blood stains and the leftover clutter from a life on the streets, along with a plywood board with the numbers 5150 spray painted on it, a code section authorizing psychiatric hold – one man who lives in the encampment described it as a reference to the chaos of life on the streets.
The shooting left an uneasy atmosphere at the encampments nearby.
“It is scary to think that there is someone out there who is so heartless they could kill someone with such a big heart” said one homeless woman who camps there, Ana. “No one knows who [the suspect] is… [It’s] got everyone on edge.”
“This is what happens on the streets,” said a man named Sterling. “No, there is nothing good about staying out here. I think it is a joke. I’d rather be inside.”
Kelley Cutler, who works with the Coalition on Homelessness, said details were thin among those who lived nearby, but many were in shock.
“[T]here’s this fear that people are having to deal with since there isn’t safe places for folks to be, and just a compounding trauma,” Cutler said. “People are so tired from just losing so many people.”
The fatal shootings bring the total number of homicide victims in the Mission District this year to nine, four of whom have been killed in the last three weeks.
On November 30, a worker with the Department of Public Works, 27-year-old Jermaine Jackson Jr., was shot and killed at the corner of 25th and Vermont streets while cleaning graffiti near 8 a.m. The police arrested a suspect the next day, though he has pled not guilty to the shooting.
Here is a map of homicides in the Mission this year:
Map by Supriya Yelimeli