A homeless man who was shot by police this morning in San Francisco’s Mission District has died, San Francisco General Hospital officials have confirmed.
The man, described by police only as a Latino man, was shot shortly after 10 a.m. in the 400 block of Shotwell Street between 18th and 19th streets.
Police Chief Greg Suhr said police were called to the scene at 9:57 a.m. when a homeless outreach team reported someone waving a large kitchen knife.
Officers responded and apparently tried to subdue the man by shooting four less-lethal beanbag rounds at him, according to Suhr.
However, Suhr said the man got up and “charged,” causing two officers to fire at least seven shots at him. One of the two officers was a sergeant.
The man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and went into surgery in what Suhr called “very critical” condition, but hospital officials said he has since died.
Suhr said the man was homeless and had been living on the block for the past couple of months.
The department is in the midst of revising its use of force policies following the controversy over the police shooting of Mario Woods in the Bayview District in December. The revisions include policy changes emphasizing conflict deescalation and the use of non-lethal force.
Woods was also armed with a knife, and witness videos of the shooting widely distributed on social media caused many to question whether he posed a threat to officers or could have been subdued by other means.
“We have been working hard to figure out how to deal with folks with edged weapons,” Suhr acknowledged today. “Apparently this event went really quickly. We’ll have to look into it to find out why it had to go down as it did.”
Gary Siegel, who works at an auto body shop around the corner from the shooting, said he was on the phone when he heard six to nine quick rapid gunshots. He went outside later and saw the man’s body on the street.
Siegel and others who live and work in the neighborhood said there is a longstanding homeless encampment along the east side of Shotwell where the shooting occurred.
A man who said he has been working for the past two weeks on the block where the shooting occurred said the homeless residents mostly “stay on their side” but can sometimes get loud or rowdy.
One man in particular Wednesday was kicking soccer balls at people and was “just losing it,” he said.
“As long as they don’t bother me, I don’t bother them,” said the man, who asked to remain unidentified.
Sara Gaiser, Bay City News