Police car blocking Valencia on 18th. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

10 p.m.  Police confirmed that at 9:05 p.m. the stand off at the Crown Hotel “ended up very well.”

The officer said that at 9:05 p.m. the suspect walked out into the hallway and was taken into custody and quickly taken by ambulance to the hospital for evaluation.  A check of the room by officers and a bomb squad turned up one gun.

Residents in the area were expected to be able to return within the hour and only the floor where the suspect had been barricaded might be off limits overnight.

Earlier, other residents of the Crown Hotel described the woman as “quiet.” Several expressed concern for her safety.

“I hope that nobody hurts her,” said Joanne Brewster, a 13-year resident of the hotel. “It’s a very stressful situation in there,” she added, referring to life in the SRO. Mental illness is widespread among the tenants there, she said.

These days, Brewster said, many of them are veterans. At least one resident referred to the barricaded woman as a veteran as well.

“I had a funny feeling sooner or later something is going to happen,” Brewster said.

For the most part, resident Lee Robinson said, it’s “clean and quiet” at the Crown Hotel.

“Until this happened,” another resident, a former marine, chimed in. “They kept banging on my door, like, ‘somebody’s got a gun!’ ‘I’m like, I don’t care!’” he said.

Still, he eventually left, and even late into the evening waited on the corner of 18th Street and Valencia with other residents awaiting news from down the street.

9:09 p.m.  An officer at the scene said police have taken into custody a woman who barricaded herself inside the Crown Hotel earlier this afternoon. This could not be confirmed from the police spokesperson, but police were leaving the area and the atmosphere was decidedly more relaxed.

Some officers were putting away equipment and some police vehicles were leaving the scene.

8:15 p.m. A  spokesperson said police have now communicated with the armed person who has been barricaded inside the Crown Hotel since 2 p.m.  Neighbors have identified the resident as a woman, but police have yet to confirm that.

Police say the person started responding to officers verbally around 6:30 p.m. and has come out of the apartment and talked to officers in the hallway at least once.

Since then, said Sergeant Michael Andraychak, the police spokesperson, there has been “on again, off again” communication.

Residents of the building where the incident is unfolding have been evacuated, as have most of the occupants of buildings along Valencia between 16th and 17th streets. Andraychak said people may be moved to an overnight shelter if the situation continues. Some residents in buildings along Valencia between Sycamore and 18th streets were being escorted by police back to their units.

Lee Robinson, a resident of the Crown Hotel, said he knows the woman.

“She is very quiet, unassuming, she don’t make trouble,” he said. “I hope they don’t kill her, she just lost it.”

7:15 p.m. Police report they have made contact with an armed suspect barricaded inside a room on the second floor of the Crown Hotel. Police did not specify whether any demands have been made.

Though it’s unclear what information, if any, has been exchanged between the two parties, a police spokesperson said “it’s good we’ve stablished communication.” The next step is establishing a rapport with the woman.

Valencia Street is still closed to all traffic, and business is shut down. Surrounding streets and alleys are gridlocked with Friday evening traffic. Pedestrians who attempt to walk down Valencia street are being turned away, though some tenants on Valencia Street remain in their homes.

6:15 p.m.  Police said they have not yet made contact with the woman who locked herself inside her room at the Crown Hotel earlier this afternoon. Because she is armed, negotiators are working from the inside of an armored rescue vehicle parked nearby. It is fitted with loudspeakers and was moved closer to the building to start a dialogue, but still no contact has been made, police said.

Reporters have been pushed back and are unable to hear anything coming from the loudspeakers.

It is unclear if police remain on the floor where the woman’s room is located. Earlier, one resident said they had asked to use his room, which is directly across from the woman’s room, to maneuver a battering ram in the hallway.

It appears that nearly all of the businesses have been closed between 16th and 18th Streets.

Marcus Mendez, who works at Therapy, said when first responders arrived on the scene the situation didn’t seem that serious. Then, employees and customers were told by police to leave “because you’re in the line of fire.”

5: 20 p.m. Three residents of the Crown Hotel, at 528 Valencia St., said that an armed woman barricaded herself inside her room on the second floor of the single room occupancy hotel early this afternoon after getting upset with a pest control worker. Police said a suspect pulled a gun on the man, who then called police.

The incident occurred at around 2:30 p.m. At 5:20 p.m., police had still not been able to contact the woman out of her room at the five-story hotel. Valencia Street is blocked off from nearly 18th Street to nearly 15th Street.

“Our top priority is to bring this to a peaceful resolution, and we are no in a hurry,” said Sgt. Michael Andraychak, the police spokesperson at the scene. A hostage crisis team was on the scene, he said.

Police have not confirmed that the person is a woman, but three residents of the hotel confirmed the gender of the resident.

Earlier today, Terry Bjerkenlund, who lives across the hall from the woman, said that police asked him to leave his door open. They wanted to set up a battering ram to open her door, he said as he stood on the street, still in stocking feet.

While Bjerkenlund was still in the hotel, he said, the owner of the hotel talked to the woman from the stairwell. Although this could not be confirmed, Bjerkenlund also said the woman was a veteran and referred to her as having “Marine training.”

Another resident, Stephanie Furber, was upset. “I can’t get back into my room because of this buffoonery,” she said. 

Police arrived at the scene on Valencia with arms and shields and worked first to empty the hotel.  The tenants, many of them formerly homeless, were guided out by the police. One frail looking woman was carried out in a chair; another pushed pushed a walker in front them while an officer followed, holding up a shield.

Rebecca Pierce and Amirah Mizrahi, who were eating at the Thanh Tam II restaurant at 577 Valencia St. said they were first told by police that the block was on lockdown and that they should shelter in place.  Some 20 minutes later, two officers said they were in the line of fire and should evacuate the restaurant. Pierce said it was chaotic and scary.

“My biggest fear is that they had killed someone,” Mizrahi said of the experience, referring to police officers.

One officer, armed with a rifle, positioned himself on a roof opposite the hotel.

The hotel was one of three hotels that recently became part of the city’s stock for formerly homeless residents. Its 55 rooms became available in October and are managed by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. Its supportive housing units include on-site supportive services, but it is unclear if any supportive services were in the building at the time of the incident.

The Crown Hotel on Valencia Street

Limón, a popular Peruvian restaurant, is on the ground floor of building.

At 3:35, Valencia was still blocked off between 16th and 17th Streets and helicopters circled overhead.

Customers remained inside of Muddy Waters and Taqueria La Cumbre.

James Abel, a resident of a hotel across the street, said that officers came up and asked if they could use his room as a vantage point because it was across from the building where the woman had locked herself inside.

If you want to be in the know, keep good reporting coming and become a Mission Local member today. 

Officers at the scene. Photo by Lola M. Chavez
SFPD bring in a special armored vehicle. Photo by Lola M. Chavez
Marking perimeters. Photo by Lola M. Chavez
Photo by Laura Wenus
Police hold a shield behind a person being evacuated from Valencia Street. Photo by Chris Jewett
Photo by Chris Jewett
Photo by Chris Jewett

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Lola M. Chavez

I grew up in the Mission, went to School of the Arts high school for creative writing. Bounced around colleges from SFState, to CCSF, to CCA where I graduated with a degree in photography.

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  1. No city, state, no identifying geographical markers, this is piss poor reporting. Leaving out basic information. Fire the editor!!!