shooting_nighttime.jpgThe August fatal shooting of Mission restaurant worker, believed to be a case of mistaken identity in the ongoing dispute between two area gangs was the source of much upset in the community. And now, Mission Local reports, the 15-year-old arrested in the murder was one that had been touted “as a success story” by San Francisco quthorities.

The shooting of Gaspar Puch-tzek was reported around 12:30 a.m. on August 30, at 19th Street near San Carlos Street.

The 22-year-old victim had just gotten off of work at the nearby Hog and Rocks restaurant where he worked as a cook, according to David Esler, one of the restaurant’s owners.

Puch-tzek and two other acquaintances were standing outside the restaurant and having a cigarette when two suspects approached, and one shot the victim in the head, according to Esler.

Mission Local reported at the time that SFPD Captain Greg Corrales said that the suspects, believed to be members of the Norteño gang, approached the men and using a derogatory word for the Sureño gang, asked Puch-tzek his gang affiliation. When the victim said he wasn’t the member of any gang, he was shot, Corrales said.

Puch-tzek, a father of two, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he later died.

According to SFPD, “After a month long investigation, police inspectors developed probable cause” to charge a 15-year-old male with the crime.

Due to juvenile privacy laws, the suspect’s name and booking photo cannot be made
public, SFPD said, but Mission Local is reporting that the teen was a participant in San Francisco’s Community Response Network (CRN), “a collaborative framework that addresses youth gang violence issues by incorporating existing neighborhood services, funded programs and coordinating these efforts across programs and agencies.”

According to Mission Local, the teen was referred to the program by the probation department. Just days before the shooting, the teen was on a program-sponsored trip to Yosemite, where he “chose to get up each morning to go on the 6 a.m. hikes” and “volunteered every chance he got.”

Probation workers were “touting him as a success story,” a CRN worker told Mission Local. “We noticed right away that he was a leader in the group.”

“By the end of the camp,” Mission Local reports, “outreach workers were talking about setting him up with a job and getting him on track to go to college.”

The teen was arrested while in custody on another charge at San Francisco’s
Juvenile Justice Center, SFPD says.

At the time of his arrest, he faced, says SFPD, “one count of homicide, two firearms violations and a gang enhancement.”

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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