A building near 16th and Valencia caught on fire on Saturday night. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan

The Mission got lit up this weekend, but not in the way we strive for: A midday shooting on Friday left a man dead while a group of young students watched, and a house fire on Saturday night sent two people to the hospital and displaced seven from their homes. 

Friday shooting

Ezekial Hernandez, 20, has been identified as the victim of a fatal shooting in broad daylight on Friday, the Medical Examiner’s office said Monday. 

At around 11:49 a.m. Friday, police officers responded to a shooting near 17th and Folsom streets, near In Chan Kajaal Park and Casa Adelante, a large new affordable housing building at 2060 Folsom St. The officers treated the victim on site and medics transported him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

The police confirmed that the SFPD Homicide Detail is investigating the case. The Medical Examiner could not confirm any details about Hernandez. 

Students and teachers who were visiting from nearby international school La Scuola witnessed the incident, the Chronicle reported, and some even saw the shooter before he left the scene of the shooting. 

Valentina Imbeni, head of La Scuola, said that four of the 14 fourth graders there that day witnessed the shooting from where they were playing on the playground, but foliage prevented them from seeing Hernandez once he was shot. 

“The children were really quick to respond to the teacher,” Imbeni said, adding that unfortunately, they do “a lot of training” to know how to handle shooter situations. The students and teachers ran back to the school a block away, and sheltered in place. A police sergeant came to speak with the students on Friday, and today the school brought in counselors to talk to the class.

Imbeni said that she believed both Hernandez and his shooter were armed. While resources may be limited, she said, “securing the spaces where children are is very important.” 

Witnesses saw Hernandez laying in a pool of blood before police and medics arrived. Sara Canul, a resident at Casa Adelante, told Mission Local she didn’t witness the incident, but saw the blood all over the sidewalk near the entrance to her building when she got home. 

“When I saw the blood on the floor, I said, ‘oh my God’ — I was so scared,” Canul said. 

Employees at Casa Adelante declined to comment on the incident, and it is unclear if the victim lived in the housing project.

Gen Fujioka, senior policy staff at Chinatown Community Development Center who oversees the residence, said there were no known witnesses nor any association between those involved in the shooting and the residents or staff. He believed the men were passing through the neighborhood. 

“Security and safety is a big concern,” Fujioka said. “So, it’s distressing for sure.”

Fire near 16th and Valencia

Two people were injured and seven adults were displaced after a fire broke out Saturday evening in a six-unit building at 58 Rondel Pl., an alley near 16th and Valencia streets. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

The department confirmed on its Twitter that two people were taken to the hospital. Today, the building’s outer facade was scorched, parts of the roof were missing, and a heap of blackened rubble sat out front. 

“Great job done by #SFFD personnel rescuing victims and keeping heavy fire from spreading to the occupied apartments on either side of this building,” read a tweet on the San Francisco Firefighters Local 798 Twitter account. The Red Cross of Northern California also assisted firefighters at the scene, according to the Fire Department. 

Although the fire was contained and did not appear to impact the neighboring buildings, all of the tenants in the building’s six apartment units were displaced.

Burnt items sit in front of 58 Rondel Pl. after the Saturday night fire. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.

“Living in the Mission, we hear stuff, but we usually disregard it,” said Kim Ferrara, who lives across the street from where the fire broke out, near the busy Valencia and 16th Street corridors. But when she started hearing “frantic” honking from a car, she and her housemates knew something was wrong. They ended up calling 911 around 10:24 p.m. 

Ferrara said hers and neighboring houses evacuated because the small alley is usually full of cars. “Our next door neighbors had a full tank of gas. If that exploded, we had no way out.” 

She and her housemates wandered around the neighborhood for a while, uncertain what to do, and were eventually able to go back into their house around 2 a.m. Firefighters, another resident said, were on their block all night. 

Two teens in custody

In other news, two 18-year-olds who were allegedly involved in a shooting earlier this month are in police custody, the SFPD announced in a press release today. 

On Sept. 15, a 43-year-old woman was shot in the leg near 21st and Folsom streets. According to the victim, she was taking photos when two men demanded she give them her camera, the police release said, and when she refused, one of the men pointed a gun at her. 

The woman ran away, but the young men shot at her before getting into their car and fleeing, wounding her in the leg. The Police Department’s Robbery Detail took over the case and identified Joseisac Lopez as the shooter, and Jeferson Hernandez as the second suspect — both 18-year-old San Francisco residents. 

Lopez was stopped the next day for a traffic offense by San Bruno police and arrested by SFPD investigators. 

SFPD officers also attempted to pull over Hernandez two days after the shooting, as he was driving a vehicle that was “wanted in the commission of a felony,” police said. Hernandez successfully fled the scene, crashing into a bus while doing so. Last Wednesday, Hernandez was arrested by Mission Station officers near 25th and Folsom streets. 

Both shootings, including the one where arrests have been made, remain open investigations. Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD Tip Line at 1-415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD. You may remain anonymous.

Eleni Balakrishnan

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

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1 Comment

  1. How sad is it that the kids have “gone through a lot of training” regarding active shooter situations? What does that say about society that it’s even necessary?

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