Two decades of SF police shootings
Images from previous Mission Local coverage of SFPD shootings.

Two weeks ago, San Francisco police officers shot and killed Michael MacFhionghain, 57, and Rafael Mendoza, 49, while the former appeared to attack the latter with a knife.

MacFhionghain and Mendoza became the 49th and 50th people to be fatally shot by SFPD officers since 2002, according to a Mission Local analysis of police data. The May 19 incident was the 128th “officer-involved shooting” recorded by the department over the past two decades. 

Some 39 suspects, and eight bystanders, have been shot and injured by officers during the same period.

Explore every SFPD shooting going back to 2002 using the map and table below. Shooting descriptions are adapted from police accounts; some events are disputed.

Data from SFPD. Locations are approximate. We could not find an address for three shootings; these have been omitted.

A note on the data: There are gray areas here that make it tricky to define some metrics in a concrete way, even those you might expect to be crystal clear, like deaths and injuries.

For instance, Sean Moore was shot while unarmed in early 2017 and died from complications related to his injury three years later. In the SFPD’s annotated list of officer-involved shootings, his death is not mentioned, and Moore appears to have been counted in their statistics as an injury rather than a fatality.

Similarly, an off-duty police officer intervened in a carjacking in 2020 and shot a suspect, injuring him. The suspect was later killed, but by the South San Francisco Police Department; so, again, the incident seems to be recorded as an injury rather than a killing.

This means that, depending on how the data is sliced, the number of fatalities may be higher than 50. Caveats aside, we can still learn a lot from these SFPD reports.

Police have suffered casualties during officer-involved shootings. An officer was shot and killed while trying to arrest a suspect wanted for robbery and weapons offenses in 2006, and 18 officers have been injured in exchanges of gunfire. Eight officers have shot and injured themselves since 2002, and a further eight died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

In roughly two-thirds of the 112 officer-involved shootings that involved firing at suspects, police shot at people who were not armed with guns. Suspects were armed with knives in around 21 percent of shootings, and were unarmed in 16 percent.

On at least three occasions, officers shot and killed suspects who were brandishing fake guns.

San Francisco police officers have

fatally shot 50 people since 2002.

People shot by SFPD

Killed

Injured

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

0

'11

'02

'03

'04

'05

'06

'07

'08

'09

'10

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

'22

Year

SF police officers

have fatally shot 50

people since 2002.

Year

Injured

Killed

'02

'03

'04

'05

'06

'07

'08

'09

'10

'11

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

'22

0

8

6

4

9

5

3

2

7

1

People shot by SFPD

Data from SFPD. This chart includes bystanders and suspects, as well as shootings by off-duty officers, but does not include officers shooting themselves or fellow officers.

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DATA REPORTER. Will was born in the UK and studied English at Oxford University. After a few years in publishing, he absconded to the USA where he studied data journalism in New York. Will has strong views on healthcare, the environment, and the Oxford comma.

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  1. I guess this data is good enough.
    They’re missing the 2017 Halloween shooting/firefight in the Castro as reported by Julian Mark @Mission Local.
    Cop blasted approaching a stolen vehicle.
    Both cop and suspect critically injured. Both survived.
    Would figure SFPD would want to make sure to include a cop getting shot in their stats.

  2. I would like to add that my nephew Derrick Gaines age 15 was killed on 6/5/12 in South San Francisco – will be 10 years ago, and his killer Joshua Cabillo went onto get a nice job with SFPD at approx $180k per year. San Francisco has had to pay out a couple of settlements based on his aggressive policing. SSFPD were glad to see him go, but then the poor people of SF got him.

  3. Whoa now, defensive people. This article presents data, numbers. Being a newspaper, Mission Local has presented some of the statistics as prose. If you read this as an attack on the police, you are adding that slant yourself. Paws off Mission Local! They’re doing God’s work. Law-abiding citizen, if the police were to shoot you, please tell us: which is the most supportive way to represent the numbers?

    1. Missionlocal does have a point-of-view, a message. They are more likely to be critical of the police. But this article is factual. Read it and think, and draw your own conclusions. SFPD is hiring. Feel free to apply and encourage others who are concerned about criminal justice issues to join. Be forewarned that the training is tough and the job is risky (despite what some say).

    2. I don’t want the police to shoot me. But I will never approach them with a knife or a gun or any sort of weapon like many of the people who were shot by police did. I will also not carjack anyone or drive aggressively away from the police in a hit and run. Do these people deserve to be shot, in many cases no but some did actually. But my chances are pretty good of avoiding being shot by a police officer in San Francisco.

      My critique of this article is not their use of statistics. I applaud that actually and I am very happy that they put in the details of all of the shooting. My critique is more about the lack of a balanced discussion. There was no input from the police. There was no comment from an expert who knows and understands this problem on a national level. There is no mention about what the police department has done to decrease officer involved shootings. There was no comparison with other cities with similar populations and levels of crime. Are officer involved shootings in SF happening more or less than in other communities. I just want unbiased information. That is my critique.

  4. I feel like this is an attack on SFPD and their history of police involved shootings rather than looking at why these officer involved shooting actually occurred. When I read through the actual cases presented in this article, I am struck by how often the police are attacked with weapons and how terrifying that must be. It is a tough and thankless job and attacks on the force like this must make their job worse. We need the SFPD. Their performance is not perfect but instead of just portraying them as gun happy killers, perhaps we could also point out how incredibly difficult their jobs are.

  5. I am so disappointed you continue to denigrate the police.
    If you want police to protect you and everyone else, treat them with kindness and respect. If you want continued chaos and crime, keep publishing these polarizing articles that make the cops look like the criminals. How about publishing the statistics on people injured by criminals?

  6. Now do a map of SFPD shot and injured/killed over that time.

    When orders of magnitude more people are shot and injured or killed by cops and perhaps 1 cop is shot and killed over those decades, then, similar to Uvalde, SF has lazy cops who are more comfortable making safe, clean kills than they are putting themselves in harm way to keep residents safe.

    1. When Officer Espinoza was shot and killed, SFPD went on the warpath with a vastly increased presence and a junkyard dog mentality. I can attest to that.

  7. Were any law-abiding citizens shot while they were minding their own business? That would be a travesty and a tragedy.

    1. As opposed to… people who deserved to get murdered? Wow. So if police act as judge, jury and executioner it only matters to you if the person was “law-abiding”? What does that even mean? San Francisco is turning into a hellhole of conservatives.

    2. cops are not judge, jury, and executioner. no victim of state violence deserves it. the presumption that anyone slaughtered by police must be guilty of an amorphous “something” warranting death facilitates more violence. police are armed, dangerous, cost too much.

      overlay their ever-expanding budget and useless rates of resolving cases in this time. obscene.