In a statement sent by police, they say that at “10:18am, San Francisco Police officers responded to a call of a person with a knife on the 1300 block of Howard Street, located in the Southern Police District. The suspect was reported to be highly agitated, yelling and screaming, armed with a buck knife stabbing parking meters, and causing vandalism to city owned vehicles by puncturing their tires.”
Specifically, they were responding to a call from the San Francisco Department of Health center, located at 1380 Howard.
“Officers arrived and located the suspect in a wheelchair” the SFPD statement continues. “The suspect was holding a knife and a large piece of cement. A confrontation ensued and an officer was stabbed during the incident,” according to the Ex, in the shoulder.
The video, which the Ex says was shot by a passerby using an iPhone, begins at that point in the narrative, and shows four SFPD officers surrounding a suspect, who was sitting in a wheelchair, but appears to back away as police move toward him.
The Chron describes the action thusly: “In the video, one of the officers shoots the suspect using a beanbag gun, and the suspect appears to throw the knife aside. A split second later the suspect is shot in the groin with a handgun.”
“Officers used pepper spray and deployed their department issued Extended Range ImpactWeapon (ERIW) to subdue the suspect, with no effect” is how the SFPD statement describes the incident. “Officers fired their hand gun striking the suspect. At this time, it has not yet been determined how many officers shot, or how many times the suspect was hit with either the ERIW or firearm.”
“I want to make sure we put the video in context,” Police Chief George GascÃ³n said at a press conference following the event. “We have an individual acting violently. He had a knife. One of the officers has been stabbed.”
Gascon acknowledged that “he appears to toss the knife” in the video but that officers were “reacting to the motion” when they fired, and that “what the officers are seeing and what is actually happening may be different.”
Gascon also admitted that while police initially reported that the suspect was standing when he was shot, he was actually seated in his wheelchair at the time.
The suspect was reportedly a client of the mental health facility at the DPH center who, a SFPD spokesperson said, because angry when he was denied services.
Both the suspect and the officer, neither of whom have been named, were transported to SFGH with non-life threatening injuries, and are expected to survive.
This is the second SFPD shooting of a civilian in as many weeks: on December 29, SFPD fatally shot 46-year-old Vinh Bui, who also, his family said, had a history of mental illness.