18th and Diamond streets was still cordoned off late Wednesday morning after a shooting during the night. Photo by Julian Mark

An exchange of gunfire broke out between at least one San Francisco police officer and a suspect in the Castro just after midnight Wednesday, police say.

Little is known about the male suspect, but police say the officer is a 41-year-old man and a nine-year veteran of the force. Both were transported to the hospital with gunshot wounds. As of 5 a.m., both the suspect and the officer were undergoing surgery.

The officer is now in critical yet stable condition, police spokesperson Officer Grace Gatpandan said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. The suspect is in life-threatening condition, Gatpandan said. 

Police say that at around 12:03 a.m., a citizen flagged down foot-beat officers patrolling the neighborhood about a suspicious vehicle near 18th and Diamond streets. When officers checked out the car, the gunfire broke out.

It’s unclear who shot first, how many officers were involved in the incident, how many total shots were fired, and what exactly led to the escalation — and right now police are not releasing that information. “Additional information will be released as it becomes available,” Gatpandan said.

She did note that police have confirmed that the suspicious vehicle in question — a gray Chrysler sedan — was reported stolen.

Gatpandan also said the incident was being investigated in relation to the carjacking of a taxi that occurred minutes after the shooting. Police reported Wednesday morning that three suspects — two woman of unknown ages and a man in his 20s — hailed a cab at Market and Diamond streets at 12:10 a.m. They ordered the driver out of the car at gunpoint and drove away. The car was found unoccupied on Oakwood Street, a small residential street near 18th and Dolores streets.

The San Francisco Police Department Homicide Detail, the District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Police Accountability and the SFPD Internal Affairs Division are investigating the incident, said police department spokesperson Sgt. Michael Andraychak. 

A town hall meeting will be held within ten days to address the officer-involved shooting, Gatpandan said.

As of noon Wednesday, Police had closed off an area from Market Street to 19th Street, and from Castro Street to Eureka Street as they conducted their investigation. Eight or so police officers milled around the crime scene among evidence markers and forensic equipment. 

A man named Mike, who said he lived up the hill on Grandview Avenue, said he heard about eight gunshots as he was stepping into his home around midnight. “It was crazy,” he said.

SFPD officers stand outside gas station in the Castro district, where the department sent most of its cops to patrol the streets. Photo by Kaitlin Benz.

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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