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Both Mission Local and Mission Mission report that a man was robbed and killed on Julian Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets between 2 and 3 AM Sunday morning, in what is believed to be San Francisco’s eighth homicide of 2012.

According to Mission Local, area residents heard the victim, described as “a Latino male between 30 and 40 years old,” crying for help after the assault. SF Weekly has since identified the man as 47-year-old Richard Sprague.

Witnesses who spoke to ML@L said that they didn’t realize that Sprague had been the victim of an attack, and that he continued to lie on the street throughout the early morning. Police arrived over five hours later, “sometime between 7:00 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.”

According to the Ex, the neighbor who summoned the police first thought Sprague was “sleeping it off,” but then saw that he had “bruising on his neck and his stomach (was) bloated and swollen.”

Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza told Bay City News that the caller told police Sprague had been lying on the ground since 6:30 a.m. and hadn’t moved.

The man, later identified as Sprague, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The case is being treated as a homicide, but Esparza said it was not a stabbing. However, Mission Local reports that “neighbors said that police told them that the man was robbed and then stabbed in the upper body.”

Mission Mission reports that SFPD has posted numerous fliers in the area that say (in part):

“On Sunday morning 02/19/12, sometime between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. a man was robbed and then murdered in front of 125 Jullian, [sic] between 15th st, and 16th st . We ask anyone in the area of this street and the blocks surrounding it who saw or heard anything to contact S.F.P.D. YOU CAN REMAIN ANONYMOUS: TIP LINE 415-575-4444.”

Despite the use of “murdered” in these reportedly-SFPD-issued fliers, police spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza tells the Chron that SFPD is “investigating Sprague’s death as a possible homicide, but do not know how he died.”

No suspect information was available as of this morning, Esparza said.

Oddly, the assault was not included in SFPD’s “Daily Recap for 2/18, 2/19, 2/20, 2/21/12,” the daily roundup of crimes of note the SFPD’s media relations department sends to the press.

SFPD did not respond to calls from the Appeal regarding the incident.

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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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