21st and Mission streets. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan

At just after 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon, a volley of gunshots rang out on 21st Street between Mission and Capp streets. 

Many witnesses employed on the block heard three shots in quick succession. While the initial shots could be mistaken for fireworks, a few moments later, two Mission Local reporters personally observed a trio of two men and a woman hurry into a white compact car, with one of the men firing a handgun east on 21st toward Capp as the car drove off.

The car drove away, and turned left onto Mission St. 

Police happened to be neaby, and quickly swarmed the site and cordoned off the corridor of 21st between Mission and Capp. A sergeant on scene said it did not appear that anyone in the immediate vicinity was struck by the gunfire.

Two witnesses, including a man named Abraham parked near the Bethany Center for Senior Housing, said they saw a man in a black ski mask, dressed in a security guard-like outfit with a patch on his shoulder, shooting a handgun several times toward Mission before leaving the scene.

Abraham said he saw the man in black running toward Capp on foot. Another witness named Jose said he saw a man in security garb hop into a grey or white Toyota or Honda Civic and drive toward South Van Ness.

Jesus Pena, who didn’t see the shooting but was standing nearby on Mission Street and heard the shots, said he watched a white car and a gray car with “very young people” drive away. Pena believed both cars drove and turned left onto Mission Street.

A stray bullet casing in front of 3189 21st St. rests at the feet of a police officer. Photo by Annika Hom, July 2, 2021.

Mission Local reporters personally observed the other apparent parties in the gunfight. A trio of people quickly decamped in a pair of cars. The female driver screamed, “get in the car.” A man hopped into the back seat. While the door was still open, he raised what appeared to be a black pistol and fired once toward Capp. They drove off toward Mission Street.

The two cars headed off, with the passengers shouting to one another. One passenger, not the apparent shooter, was a young, heavyset Latino man with close-cropped hair and a lantern jaw.

A call to the San Francisco Police Department’s official on-call public information officer elicited the following narrative from spokesman Officer Robert Rueca:

At approximately 5 p.m. officers responded to 21st St. and Capp regarding shots fired. Officers arrived on scene and located spent shell casings. No report of any victims or damage.

At least one bullet casing was found in front of a house at 3189 21st St. Staff at Bethany Center Senior Housing nearby is checking to see if the shooting was captured on their security cameras. Other security cameras are prominently placed in the area, and point toward where today’s scene unfolded.

This is a developing story and will be updated as possible.

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REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim nearly 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

Managing Editor/Columnist. Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

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  1. I love Joe I fought against all of the political correctness in San Francisco for years; it’s such a bad joke no one ever goes to jail! The best thing to do is leave hopefully some day I might have my book 📚 published. My mom was murdered in San Francisco and I was forced to work off the books for years for Wells Fargo bank, l begged them for years to reveal their big scandals!

  2. Yeah I was by the bank when it happened I seen three men with guns, but there was two cars one of them shooting a gun out the window towards Capp and then turned left onto mission, I think some of the witnesses were in shock because I did see a man in black run down cap but no badge on his shoulder he was really short the other guy with badge on his shoulder was much bigger and taller… he didn’t even run anywhere, I believe he was unarmed and off duty.

  3. I was sitting in my car when 3 men and a woman were waiting outside of a barber shop, they then approached a young man dressed in black near a security guard, I caught everything on my dash cams facing towards chase bank. the 3 men each had hand guns out, one of the men told a woman they were with to run into the barber shop, so that they can shoot at the other party, after them firing two shots they ran off into a white car and drove left onto mission street, The man in black ran down capp street. Soon the police arrived and me and the security were still there on the scene. we had a conversation afterwards about how crazy it had been. the security guard was granted permission to take his car and leave but I decided to stay back and talk to the police about what happened, I’m working on getting the footage from my dash cams. Im sure chase bank will have the license plate number of those three thugs who defied to intimidate and start problems with people at a barber shop.

  4. The white car was getting away from the alleged shooters, they were hanging out and the security guard with another young male approached them and showed a handgun and fired it at them. They managed to get away from the gunfire, get in their car and drive off safely. I was getting a haircut at a nearby hair salon and witnessed the whole thing errupt.

    1. Me and my kid seen 3 men from the white car with hand guns pointed in out direction. they are the alleged shooters…