Mission Street between 23rd and 24th
Mission Street between 23rd and 24th, where the incident happened. Photo by Lydia Chávez.

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It was just a regular Monday morning in Roque Hernandez’s life when the Univisión cameraman and longtime journalist was robbed while working on a story in the Mission District, where he has worked and lived for more than 30 years.

Hernandez said the incident occurred around 10:45 a.m. on the east side of Mission Street between 23rd and 24th streets. The assailant exited a car driven by another man, and approached Hernandez. 

After a brief altercation, during which Hernandez refused to give up his video camera and pleaded with the assailant, he noticed the driver getting out of the car. 

“That’s when I got scared that he might have some kind of weapon, and I let go of my camera,” Hernandez said.  

The thief and his driver then fled the scene in a white Kia. Hernandez was not injured in the incident, but lost his glasses in the altercation.

Luís Megid, Hernandez’s colleague on the assignment, was inside an unmarked Univisión car they were using for the assignment, a piece interviewing residents about the shootings in a Monterey Park dance studio this weekend that left 10 people dead. 

Hernandez, who works for Jorge Ramos’ daily program on Univisión, said this is the first time something like this has happened to him in the Mission District, which he considers both his home and workplace. 

 Cameraman Roque Hernandez said the men who robbed him off his camera were driving this car.

He added that he believes his community looks out for him, and he does not want to separate himself from the neighborhood by getting a security guard, which he says police today suggested he look into. 

“We will not work with a guard, because we believe that our community takes care of us, the neighborhood knows us and sees us and respects us. Our guard is our neighborhood,” he said. 

Although people did not intervene during the robbery, many neighbors and store owners came to support Hernandez and asked if he was okay after the  incident.

“The Mission is my home, the place where I eat, live, and also my beat, it’s the place where all my life happens, and this is the first time that something like this has happened to me,”  he said. 

Hernandez lives very close to where the incident took place. 

“They can replace my camera, but I am afraid that these assaulters and young people in general don’t understand the value of journalism in this neighborhood,” he says. Hernandez also pointed out that “an attack against me is an attack on everyone, on people not seeing the value in journalism.”

When asked if he feels unsafe in his neighborhood and workplace, Hernandez said he is more saddened than afraid, mourning that this happened to him and knowing that it might happen to other colleagues. He hopes that the company’s insurance will cover the cost of a new camera, but acknowledged that it may take some time to replace it.

“The Mission has always been dangerous, but I have been here through thick and thin, and these are my streets, and I feel comfortable in my house,” he says.  “I don’t think things have gotten worse; the kindness and good vibes of the people are always part of the Mission, especially the Latino community.” 

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Contributor, Marta Campabadal, originally hails from Barcelona. She came to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship to obtain her Master's degree at Columbia University. Following her studies, she worked for the data-driven newswire, Stacker. She is fond of big cities and the diversity they attract. San Francisco and the Mission District in particular have captured her heart, particularly because she can speak Spanish everywhere.

Follow her on Twitter @MartaCampabadal

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  1. Sorry to hear what happened, Mr. Hernandez. I’m just grateful you were not hurt physically. I’ve seen the Mission turn into something else in recent years. Before you can “ deal with the bad”, because of the amazing art, food, and people. Now it’s full of drug addict and transients. These invaders have no respect for people or property. So yes, as a Mission District native, we do look out for each other. Unfortunately, some are here to get high at any cost. Be careful please.

  2. A quick check of the plate online says that the plate belongs to a 2021 Toyota Corolla, NOT a Kia, which is completely unsurprising. If SFPD could identify and stop every car where the plates don’t match the car, we could prevent a lot of felonies. The new Police Commission General Order discourages traffic stops for bad registration and improperly mounted plates, unfortunately.

    1. Juan Rico, you are exactly right! We used to park our car in the Mission, and one day we noticed that our license plate was missing. We figured maybe it fell off, and we planned to simply replace it as soon as we could find time to get to the DMV. A few weeks later, some cops rang our bell – apparently our plate was actually stolen, and some miscreants were using it to commit crimes. If the cops pulled people over for lacking proper plates, maybe those crimes could have been prevented. Just sayin’!

  3. Qué triste y terrible que esto pase, a propósito, su nombre es Roque Hernández, no Fernández. Gracias por el trabajo Mission Local.

  4. The stolen camera is probably for sale right now at the 24th & Mission BART station open air market.

  5. Sounds like the victim and neighbors and caring community members saw the suspects. Any description? Vehicle description ?

    1. Yes, if the community really cares about him and someone knows who did it, maybe they will give up the suspects. I hope that’s the case.

  6. As one who’s in love with the Mission district I also am saddened, but willing to work to help.