20th and Capp streets
An armed robbery was reported at 20th and Capp streets, just minutes before a fatal hit and run at 16th and South Van Ness. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan

An armed robbery at 20th and Capp streets went very wrong last week: When police arrived, the suspect sped away, and fatally hit a pedestrian a few blocks away, according to Mission Station Captain Gavin McEachern. 

Police responded to the scene on Tuesday, June 21, in response to a report of a robbery with a gun around 4:15 a.m. The victim’s keys were stolen, according to the police department’s initial report of the incident. 

When police arrived at 4:23 a.m., McEachern said the suspect drove away at high speed, while officers struggled to turn their squad car around quickly enough to effectively pursue him. 

Just minutes later, Rene Kelly, 48, was struck and killed near 16th Street and South Van Ness Avenue. He was crossing the street when the fleeing suspect blew through a red light and struck him. The driver continued to drive rapidly north on South Van Ness. 

“In the effort to get away from the scene, [the driver] hit a person in the crosswalk,” McEachern said during a Mission community meeting on Tuesday. 

Kelly, who lived nearby, was declared dead at the scene. 

McEachern said the car was later recovered across the bay, in Oakland. Mission Local has asked the San Francisco Police Department whether the car was stolen or belonged to the suspect. This story will be updated if they reply. 

He said the police department had “some very positive leads” about who the robber and hit-and-run driver might be. 

Both the SFPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Unit and its Homicide Detail are investigating this case. McEachern said he was “hopeful this is solvable.”  

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REPORTER. 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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