FBI personnel and vehicles during this morning's pre-dawn raid in Bernal Heights

Update: Five alleged Hell’s Angels arrested following beating death at Mountain View concert. See end.

Residents in the vicinity of Bronte Street and Tompkins Avenue, a stone’s throw from the Alemany Farmer’s Market, were awakened by a predawn FBI raid. 

At just before 5 a.m., area dwellers reported hearing a loud bang. 

“I assumed it was someone breaking into my garage,” a nearby resident told Mission Local. “But I checked my Nest camera real quick, and the garage was fine. Then I heard another bang and another.”

Bronte St.

Around 15

law-enforcement

personnel in

military-style gear

served a warrant

in Bernal Heights

this morning.

Potrero Hill

Tompkins St.

Putnam St.

Bayview

Bernal Heights

Bronte St.

Some 15 law-

enforcement

personnel in

military-style

gear served a

warrant in

Bernal Heights

this morning.

Tompkins St.

Putnam St.

Bernal

Heights

Bayview

Portola

Map by Will Jarrett. Basemap from Mapbox.

The neighbor wandered outside in the dark, and saw both police and fire vehicles as well as vans and large vehicles of military-type appearance — “I thought it was a Brinks truck,” the neighbor said. 

The neighbor then came face to face with perhaps 15 law-enforcement personnel in military-type gear: “They were dressed like Navy Seals in full camo but had ‘FBI’ on their chests. I said ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And the guy just says, ‘Warrant. You can go back inside. Everything is fine.’” 

Reached for comment, the FBI confirmed that the raid took place. 

FBI personnel in the vicinity of Tompkins Ave. at roughly 5:30 Tuesday morning.

“We can confirm the FBI conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity this morning in the 1000 block of Tompkins Avenue,” reads a statement from the FBI’s San Francisco branch. “Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, we cannot provide further comment at this time.”

The Fire Department deferred comment to the police, and the police have not yet returned our messages. Calls to the U.S. Department of Justice have also not yet been returned. 

A neighbor estimates that much, if not all, of the action was completed in about 40 minutes, and the vehicles and personnel left before sunrise. 

This is a breaking story, and will be updated as more information comes to light. 

Update, 3 p.m.: This morning’s FBI raid on Tompkins Avenue in San Francisco was part of a coordinated series of arrests targeting suspects in a June homicide and assault in Mountain View.

In that June 18 event, a man was beaten to death at a Chris Stapleton concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater and an off-duty police officer was assaulted.

Five men were arrested this morning: Three from San Francisco; one from San Mateo; and one from Pleasant Hill. All five purportedly knew one another from and were associated with the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club according to the Mountain View Police Department. The Hell’s Angels clubhouse in the Dogpatch was also raided today.

One of the five men arrested today has a former address in the 1000 block of Tompkins, which was the site of today’s 5 a.m. raid. Mountain View Police confirmed to Mission Local that the raid on Tompkins was tied to the coordinated arrests.

A San Francisco police officer knowledgeable about today’s raids told Mission Local that, in addition to Tompkins Avenue and the Hell’s Angels clubhouse, houses were also stormed in the Portola and near University Mound. Flash-bang grenades — the source of the “bangs” the neighbor heard — were apparently used in all of the actions.

The Mountain View police listed a slew of coordinating agencies participating in the investigation that led to today’s raids: the San Francisco Police Department, the San Mateo Police Department, the San Mateo Gang Intelligence Unit, the Daly City Police Department, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, the ATF, the Antioch Police Department, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, the San Jose Police Department, the Los Altos Police Department, the Central Contra Costa County Regional SWAT team and the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team.

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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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12 Comments

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    1. Dumb comment. You must be a proponent for “defund the police.” Yet I bet you’re the first to call 911 when you’re scared or threatened

      1. defund the police isn’t about not having someone to call when there’s an emergency. nice try though.

  1. Papa Frisco’s kid.

    That is one hell of a lot of coordinating cop shops over a murder and assault. Something’s up.

    1. Hells Angels aren’t exactly gentle ordinary folks that accepts a warrant quietly. The feds just came prepared.

    2. What??

      Clearly you’re unaware of the logistical needs to conduct multiple simultaneous high risk warrants, the legal requirements and safety necessities, the tactical requirements, and frankly who is doing what duties when the crime happens in a different county but the suspects live across 3 different counties…

      Not to mention the manpower alone. How big do you think these SWAT teams are? How about the need to have a tight, well-produced case file as an investigator? The amount of suspects and witnesses involved in a public case?

      How about the fact that as an officer, any force I use is viewed against any tactical considerations or plans prior, and a failure to utilize any tactical planning or advantage can be used as evidence against me? Yes. We roll deep. We plan thoroughly. We coordinate across the state. We keep it tight.

      1. That amount of coordination and effort is an extremely uncommon response to a random murder and assault. The Stockton serial killer was taken down with less fanfare.

        A) A cop got beat down
        B) LEAs are fascinated by HA
        C) Feds want racketeering

    1. Stephen — 

      Yes, that’s right. Might as well get that in there; people seem to be curious.

      JE

  2. That was most certainly an alleged drug dealer raid. Happened in my old building once. Battering rams, people scaling the back patio fence, lots of guns drawn. Police said “you won’t see that guy for a looong time”. Next day saw my neighbor again and said hi.

    1. Well, my original comment was certainly wrong and misguided. Though my previous experience is a true story.

      1. Sir or madam — 

        I don’t think anybody could’ve foreseen this. This seems more 1972 San Francisco than 2022.

        Best,

        JE