Friday, September 5, 2008
The Mission District is our primary patrol area and many of these homicides occur at night in the same areas we patrol. Gang activity along with drug sales and robberies are common in the Mission. This is a map of Mission homicides 2008 to date. The yellow dots are the most recent homicides and you can click on the map for a larger version.
2 Goodwill workers shot to death in latest Mission violence
Henry K. Lee,Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writers
Friday, September 5, 2008
Two men who worked together at Goodwill Industries were shot and killed overnight on the edge of San Francisco's Mission District, the latest spasm of violence in an area where six people have been slain in the past two weeks, police said today.
Police announced several measures to respond to the violence, including adding foot and car patrols to Mission District streets and deploying more gang task force members to the neighborhood.
The slain men were with a woman at 24th and Utah streets just south of San Francisco General Hospital about 9:45 p.m. Thursday when two men walked up and opened fire, hitting all three, police said. The gunmen got into a waiting minivan that drove off on 24th Street, investigators said.
The shooting happened a couple of doors down 24th Street from where one of the victims, 19-year-old Noel Espinoza, lived. He died at San Francisco General at 10:26 p.m., the medical examiner's office said.
Goodwill said the other slain man was Matthew Solomon, 23, of San Francisco. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman, a 22-year-old San Francisco resident whose name was withheld, is expected to survive.
The double slaying happened about 3 1/2 hours after someone opened fire on a man and a woman sitting in a car with a young child in the backseat around 18th and Bryant streets, police said.
The two adults suffered what police described as life-threatening injuries and were being treated at San Francisco General. The child was unhurt.
Police did not immediately release detailed descriptions of the attackers in either shooting, and there was no further description of the minivan used in the double slaying.
Authorities said they would take several steps in response to the violence, including increasing beat patrols along Mission Street and adding cars to parts of the Mission and Ingleside neighborhoods and authorizing additional overtime to pay for the extra patrols.
Police officials also said they would put additional gang task force members and undercover drug officers in the Mission and double the number of school resource officers at Mission High School.
"The violence in the Mission is unacceptable," Police Chief Heather Fong said at a press conference at the Hall of Justice. "People involved in gang and drug activity have no regard for the community."
Fong did not say how many extra officers would be assigned or how much additional overtime would be authorized. She said announcing specific figures would be "counterproductive."
Police had already increased patrols in the Mission in the wake of the shooting death of the president of the San Francisco chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Mark Guardado, 45, was shot at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday near 24th Street and Treat Avenue, about a mile from the group's clubhouse on Tennessee Street where he lived.
The men slain at 24th and Utah streets worked at Goodwill's store and processing center at Mission and Van Ness Avenue and were friends, said chief executive officer Deborah Alvarez-Rodriguez. Both had started as "transitional employees," who are typically referrals from programs for at-risk youths.
Espinoza and Solomon had recently been promoted to permanent positions at Goodwill, and Alvarez-Rodriguez praised them as "exemplary employees who had really turned their lives around."
Solomon had been featured as employee of the month in a recent company newsletter and Espinoza was scheduled to receive the same honor in the next issue, she said.
The recent outburst of violence in the Mission began Aug. 22, when 47-year-old Samuel Mitchell was shot to death at 26th and Folsom streets. On Aug. 24, Jorge Hurtado, 18, was shot and killed at Treat and 23rd Street.
Then, on Monday, Marcelino Canul-Castro, 24, was shot and killed at San Carlos and 18th streets.
No arrests have been made in any of the killings.
The most recent slayings were the 70th and 71st in the city this year. In all of 2007 there were 98 homicides, the highest total in San Francisco since 1995.
Alvarez-Rodriguez said Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties has been hit particularly hard by the violence. In the past two years, she said, 10 of its employees and counseling clients have been killed in shootings.
"This is a huge blow," she said. "So many of these young men and women live in neighborhoods where violence is happening. I wish to God it wasn't happening, but this is their home."
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