SF News

Update: Coast Guard Suspends Search For Missing Kayaker

The U.S. Coast Guard this morning suspended its search for a man who was lost in the Bay on Sunday afternoon after his kayak overturned near San Francisco's Pier 80.

Thomas Gregoire, 56, was kayaking with a friend when his kayak flipped over. The incident was reported around 2:40 p.m. by a professional mariner who was mooring a motorboat in the area, according to the Coast Guard.

Gregoire apparently got too close to a tugboat that was repositioning a barge and got caught in the boat's wash, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi said.

He was wearing a red shirt and blue vest when he entered the water, authorities said.

The Coast Guard and police searched the Bay for about 18 hours for Gregoire before calling off the search shortly before 9:30 a.m. today.

Authorities said that because of the time that has lapsed since he went into the water, it is unlikely that Gregoire is still alive.

 

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Carlos Santana Performs At Mission High School To Celebrate Alma Mater's Academic Gains

A San Francisco high school is getting a visit from a famous alumnus today -- Carlos Santana is touring Mission High and meeting with the school's guitar club.

Santana is speaking to students, giving a brief concert and jamming with members of the school's guitar club in a visit meant to applaud the school for raising its test scores and achieving an 85 percent college acceptance rate among seniors last year, school district officials said.

Santana was scheduled to be joined on stage at the school this morning by his bandmates and wife Cindy Blackman Santana on the drums.

At the end of the concert, the Grammy Award-winning musician is also planning to present the school's guitar club with 30 new guitars.

"He's very proud of the school, this school is really doing great stuff," San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Heidi Anderson said today. "It has had its challenges but in the last several years it has been steadily gaining."

According to a statement from a Santana public relations rep, Mission High's improving test scores and growing college acceptance rate are the result of a five-year effort by school administrators to ensure that students graduate and attend college.

 

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President Obama To Visit SF For Fundraiser Tuesday

President Obama will make a brief visit to the Bay Area on Tuesday to attend an afternoon campaign fundraiser in San Francisco.

Air Force One is scheduled to land at San Francisco International Airport early Tuesday afternoon.

The president will attend a lunch fundraiser at the W Hotel in San Francisco, a campaign official said.

Ticket prices for the event -- which will feature a performance by Jack Johnson -- start at $5,000 and roughly 200 people are set to attend, the official said.

Obama will then depart from SFO less than three hours after arriving.

The anti-war group The World Can't Wait is planning to rally outside of the W Hotel on Tuesday to protest U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Obama administration's funding of other military operations in the Middle East, according to the group.

 

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Clergy Members Join 'Occupy SF' Protestors For Downtown March

Bay Area clergy members were among dozens of protesters who marched through downtown San Francisco this morning in support of the "Occupy SF" movement.

More than 100 marchers left Justin Herman Plaza shortly after 10:30 a.m. and snaked through the city, making a number of stops, including at the JP Morgan Chase building on Mission Street, Wells Fargo headquarters on Montgomery Street and the Bank of America building on California Street.

"It's important to stand on the side of people who don't have much," said the Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, of First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco.

"What I think is really amazing here is the diversity of all the clergy," he said.

The marchers are repeating chants including "We are the 99 percent" and "We are too big to fail," and are carrying a golden calf bearing the message "$$$ Worship."

Occupy SF protesters have camped out in front of the Federal Reserve building and in Justin Herman Plaza in recent weeks. This morning, dozens of tents remained pitched in the plaza.

 

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Woman Escapes Serious Injury In Bayview Shooting Sunday Evening

A woman escaped serious injury when someone shot at her in San Francisco's Bayview District on Sunday evening, police said.

The shooting was reported at 7:29 p.m. in the 1000 block of Fitzgerald Avenue.

Police said a black four-door Lexus approached the 49-year-old victim and a passenger got out of the car and fired multiple shots at her.

The bullets missed the woman, but her left elbow was cut by glass from a car window that was shattered by the gunfire, police said.

The suspects fled in the Lexus and remain large.

Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Eight Hospitalized, Two Arrested After Early Morning Soma Crash

Eight people were seriously injured when a minivan broadsided a sedan in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood early this morning, a police spokesman said.

The drivers of both cars were arrested on suspicion of DUI after the crash, which was reported at 12:39 a.m. at 10th and Howard streets, police Sgt. Daryl Fong said.

Fong said a van containing two people was speeding south on 10th Street when it ran a red light and struck a sedan that had six people in it.

All eight people involved in the crash were taken to hospitals with serious but not life-threatening injuries, he said.

The drivers of both vehicles were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and the other occupant of the van was also arrested for possession of suspected cocaine, Fong said.

The van may have also been involved in a hit-and-run in the city's Northern Police District shortly before the crash, but that has not yet been confirmed, Fong said.

 

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Missing Kayaker In SF Bay Still Not Found After Overnight Search

The U.S. Coast Guard searched overnight and into the morning for a man who was lost in the water Sunday afternoon after his kayak overturned near Pier 80 in San Francisco.

Thomas Gregoire was kayaking with a friend when his kayak flipped over today, according to U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Mark Leahey. The incident was reported around 2:40 p.m. by a professional mariner who was mooring a motorboat in the area, Leahey said.

San Francisco police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi said it appeared that the kayaker "got a little too close" to a tugboat that was repositioning a barge and was caught in the boat's wash.

Gregoire was wearing a red shirt and a blue vest when he entered the water, Leahey said.

A joint search was conducted this afternoon by the San Francisco Fire and Police departments and the Coast Guard, involving a helicopterboats and divers.

Assistant Fire Chief Dave Franklin said the fire department pulled its divers from the water after several hours of searching because the search became a "recovery operation." Based on the time lapsed since the incident and the circumstances under which Gregoire disappeared, Franklin said it was unlikely he was still alive.

Coast Guard air and boat crews were still searching as of 6:30 a.m. and a Coast Guard official said the search will continue into the day.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Monday News Roundup

East Bay Paratransit Driver Arrested

An East Bay paratransit driver was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and murder after a fatal collision with a motorcyclist in San Leandro Saturday afternoon, officials said.

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross said it appears the crash might have followed an altercation between the driver, Eddie Hall, 31, of Oakland and the motorcyclist on eastbound Interstate Highway 580 shortly before 4 p.m. The motorcyclist had been traveling in a group with seven or eight other motorcyclists, according to San Leandro police.

The paratransit van struck the motorcyclist, and the motorcycle was dragged under the van before the van pulled over just east of the 150th Avenue onramp, San Leandro Police Sgt. Doug Calcagno said.

After Hall pulled over to the shoulder, he allegedly attempted to flee the scene and was arrested by Alameda County Sheriff's deputies, San Leandro police said. Calcagno said that there were no passengers in the paratransit van at the time.

The motorcyclist was treated by Alameda County Fire Department personnel and then transported to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

San Leandro police and the CHP are investigating whether Hall intentionally struck the motorcyclist.

"We don't think it was an accident," Calcagno said, but said it was unclear what the motive may have been.

The collision closed eastbound I-580 until around 2:30 Sunday morning.

San Jose Firefighters Extinguished 3-Alarm Fire

San Jose firefighters extinguished a 3-alarm fire in a 20-unit apartment building early Sunday morning that displaced 30-50 people.

Firefighters responded to a call from a resident of the building, located near the corner of South King Road and Bowling Green Drive, at 1:18 a.m.

They found heavy smoke and flames coming from the building when they arrived, said Battalion Chief Scott Kouns.

Six people were rescued from the burning building, including one person who was on a balcony when firefighters arrived, ready to jump. Firefighters extended a ladder so he could climb down safely.

Smoke and flames were so thick at first that firefighters could only advance a fire hose about 15 feet into the two-story building.

Kouns said the common hallway through the building was thick with smoke and flames. "It's like a tunnel," he said. "Smoke and fire extended from one side to the other."

He said the fire was mostly under control after about 45 minutes, but that as of around 3:30 a.m. firefighters were still on the scene in "mop up mode."

"It took us a little while to get a handle on it just because there's so many apartments," Kouns said.

Kouns said 30-50 people were displaced by the fire, and that the cause has not yet been determined. He said most of the building was still intact, but a few units sustained heavy damage.

Armed Suspect Shot By Police At San Jose Hotel

An armed suspect was shot and injured by a police officer shooting at a San Jose hotel Sunday morning, a police spokesman said.

Officers responded to reports of an armed man at the Extended Stay Hotel at 55 E. Brokaw Road at about 7:45 a.m., San Jose police Officer Jose Garcia said.

Responding officers found the suspect who displayed "threatening behavior," prompting one officer to shoot at the suspect in self-defense, Garcia said.

The suspect was shot at least once and was taken to a hospital to be treated.

No officers were injured in the shooting.

Police Identified Three Armed Robbery Suspects

Police have identified three armed robbery suspects who led officers from multiple law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase through two counties early Sunday morning.

Santa Rosa residents Jose Campos, 22, and Javier Campos, 20, were arrested around 2 a.m. on suspicion of armed robbery, possession of a loaded firearm and conspiracy Sunday morning along with Chris Silva, 24, of Visalia, according to a Sonoma County Sheriff's report.

Around 1:15 a.m., deputies received a report of a home invasion robbery in Petaluma in which three men carrying handguns tied up the victims and robbed them at gunpoint, stealing roughly 8 pounds of marijuana, about $2,500 in cash and a cell phone, police said.

When a deputy spotted three people in a black Mercury Mountaineer SUV driving along Pepper Road near Stony Point Road in Petaluma, he began a traffic stop, but the car failed to yield and sped onto southbound U.S. Highway 101.

The suspects promptly threw two handguns out of the SUV's windows, causing the deputy in pursuit to run over one of the weapons, puncturing a tire.

Another deputy continued the chase with help from Petaluma police until the vehicle crossed into Marin County, when area CHP officers took over the pursuit, following the suspects at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

San Rafael police placed a spike strip on the highway, causing the suspects' right front tire to deflate.

The suspects exited the freeway at Andersen Drive in San Rafae and began driving the wrong way down the street, failing to stop at traffic lights.

The car's shredded front tire came off and the suspect kept driving on a sparking wheel, and later, on nothing more than a rotor and partial wheel rim at 70 miles per hour over the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, police said.

Police caught up with the suspects after the SUV slowed to a halt on a residential street in Richmond.

The front of the car immediately burst into flames and personnel from the CHP, Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, Petaluma police and Richmond police arrested the three suspects.

 

U.S. Coast Guard Continued Sunday Night Search For Kayaker

The U.S. Coast Guard continued to search Sunday night for a man who was lost in the water after his kayak overturned near Pier 80 in San Francisco.

Thomas Gregoire was kayaking with a friend Sunday afternoon when his kayak flipped over Sunday, according to U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Mark Leahey. The incident was reported around 2:40 p.m. by a professional mariner who was mooring a motorboat in the area, Leahey said.

San Francisco police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi said it appeared that the kayaker "got a little too close" to a tugboat that was repositioning a barge and was caught in the boat's wash.    

Gregoire was wearing a red shirt and a blue vest when he entered the water, Leahey said.

A joint search was conducted Sunday afternoon by the San Francisco Fire and Police departments and the Coast Guard, involving a helicopter, boats and divers.

Assistant Fire Chief Dave Franklin said the fire department pulled its divers from the water after several hours of searching because the search became a "recovery operation." Based on the time that had elapsed since the incident and the circumstances under which Gregoire disappeared, Franklin said it was unlikely he was still alive.

Coast Guard air and boat crews were still searching shortly before 8:30 p.m.

Man Stabbed In San Jose

A 22-year-old man was stabbed to death in San Jose early Sunday morning, possibly after a fight, police said.    

Police were called to the area of Almaden Avenue and Union Street shortly after 1:30 a.m. on a report of a fight, Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.    

While responding to that call, a second call came in reporting a man calling for help on the 200 block of West Virginia Street.    

Officers responded to the second location to find a man unconscious on the sidewalk with at least one stab wound.    

The man was transported to Valley Medical Center but succumbed to his injuries at 2:33 a.m.

Police have no suspects in the stabbing and have not yet determined a motive. They believe the first report of a fight is related to the stabbing.

The stabbing is San Jose's 37th murder of 2011.

Two Wounded In Burlingame Shooting

Two men were wounded in a shooting in Burlingame early Sunday morning, according to police.

Officers responded to a report of shots fired near Airport Boulevard and Lang Road in the city's eastside business district at about 1:40 a.m., according to Burlingame police.

Arriving officers found two wounded men. A 24-year-old Oakland man had been shot in the jaw and a 25-year-old Tracy man was shot in the chest.    

Both victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital and both were expected to survive their injuries.

A preliminary investigation reveled the two men were part of a larger group of people that had been drinking in the area prior to the shooting, police said.

No suspects have been arrested or identified, police said.

Antioch And Oakley Chase Leads To Armed Robbery Suspect Arrest

After a winding chase through Antioch and Oakley, Antioch police arrested an armed robbery suspect early Friday morning, police said.

Antioch police officers were called to a Chevron gas station at 3400 Hillcrest Ave. in Antioch at 5:33 a.m. on reports of an armed robbery.

Police obtained a description of the suspect and his vehicle and broadcast it to surrounding law enforcement agencies.

Within moments, other Antioch police officers located the vehicle and attempted to pull it over. The suspect did not stop, leading the officers in pursuit, police said.

Officers followed the suspect's vehicle on and off state Highway 4 in both directions, and through surface streets in Antioch and Oakley.

Once the chase entered Oakley, Oakley police officers assisted in the pursuit and followed the vehicle onto Big Break Road.

On Big Break Road, the suspect attempted to ram police vehicles. One Oakley police vehicle was struck by the suspect's vehicle, and an Antioch police vehicle was run off the road.

The suspect eventually tried to drive off the road and lost control of his vehicle, which overturned. The suspect left the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended by an Antioch officer.

The suspect, a 27-year-old man, was taken to a local hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries. He was later booked into Contra Costa County Jail on several felony charges.

During the chase, police determined that the suspect's vehicle had been reported stolen in Antioch several days earlier.

Pedestrian Struck By Vehicle On Highway 101

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on southbound U.S. Highway 101 in Redwood City early Sunday morning, California Highway Patrol officials said.

CHP officers were dispatched to the scene on Highway 101 north of Third Avenue at 4:25 a.m. Sunday. The San Mateo County coroner's office also responded to the scene.

Person Dies After Vehicle Runs Off Oakland Road And Hits Tree

One person died after their vehicle ran off the road and hit a tree in Oakland Saturday night, an Oakland police officer said.

Oakland police responded to the crash at 9:35 p.m. on the 3900 block of International Boulevard.

The victim was transported to a local hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

CHP Helicopter Rescues Injured Jet Skier

A California Highway Patrol helicopter rescued an injured jet ski rider from the Montezuma Slough north of Grizzly Bay on Saturday, according to CHP officials.

The helicopter was requested by the Solano County Fire Department at around 3 p.m. It responded to the scene and quickly located a 40-year-old man floating along the water's edge.

The helicopter landed and gave the injured man emergency first aid.

CHP officers were joined at the scene by officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Solano County Fire Department and the Solano County Sheriff's Department who arrived by boat.

The CHP helicopter transported the injured man to John Muir Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, including a possibly broken leg.

Monterey County Sheriff's Deputies Search For Gunman

Monterey County Sheriff's deputies are searching for a lone gunman in a shooting Friday that left one man dead.

Deputies responded to 77 Overpass Road in the unincorporated community of Las Lomas at around 7:10 p.m. Friday after receiving reports of a shooting, according to the sheriff's office.

Upon arrival, deputies found 18-year-old Las Lomas resident Lorenzo Lopez Fernandez lying dead in a home's driveway.    

Fernandez was at a children's party at the home when a male approached the house and started shooting at him, according to the sheriff's office.

Police were interviewing several witnesses and the investigation is ongoing.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Partly cloudy skies are expected in the Bay Area today with some fog in the morning. Highs are likely to be in the mid 60s to lower 70s.    

Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening, becoming mostly clear later in the night. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s.    

Sunny skies are expected Tuesday. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s to lower 70s.

 

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Sunday News

Fatal 580 Crash Investigated as Homicide

A fatal accident that shut down eastbound Interstate 580 in San Leandro Saturday afternoon is now being investigated as a homicide, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The collision involving a motorcyclist and a paratransit van was first reported shortly before 4 p.m., and closed all lanes on eastbound I-580 just west of 150th Avenue until well into the night.

CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said it appears that an altercation occurred between the motorcycle rider, who Cross described as a Hells Angels member, and the paratransit van driver.

The van driver is suspected of intentionally hitting the motorcyclist, who was dragged several miles under the van. The motorcyclist died of his injuries.

The case is being investigated jointly by the CHP and San Leandro police.

Hawk Shot With Nail Gun Captured in Golden Gate Park

A red-tailed hawk that was shot with a nail gun earlier this month has been captured in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, a wildlife rescue group said Saturday.

The injured juvenile hawk was trapped around 5 p.m. at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, according to the Monterey-based group WildRescue. It was transported to Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley in San Jose, where wildlife care specialists are treating it, director Rebecca Dmytryk said.

Authorities do not know exactly when the hawk was injured, but Dmytryk said her organization received a photo of the hawk on Oct. 9. WildRescue believes the shooting was intentional, Dmytryk said.

There is a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting the hawk.

Oakland Police Cracking Down on Occupy Oakland Encampment

Oakland police began cracking down Saturday on parking and traffic laws around the Occupy Oakland encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Police have been issuing tickets to motorists on 14th Street, according to Brian Glasscock, a 20-year-old Oakland resident who has been participating in the protest since the beginning.

The area has been used as a place for protestors to collect donations from passing motorists, but police are now ticketing anyone who tries to stop for illegal parking, Glasscock said.

The crackdown follows a warning issued by police indicating that the City of Oakland parking division would be enforcing parking regulations around the encampment. All vehicles including those associated with the media are subject to the enforcement effort, according to police spokeswoman Johnna Watson.

However, police did not interfere in a march by protestors Saturday afternoon along Lake Merritt, Glasscock said, and even closed some streets as the marchers moved through the city. Some protestors entered a bank during the march, but no arrests were reported.

Oakland police warned protestors that they faced arrest if they were not out of the plaza by 10 p.m. Friday, but no arrests were made that night.

Three Small Quakes Shake East Bay

Three small quakes shook the East Bay Saturday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A magnitude 2.5 temblor shook 2 miles east-southeast of Berkeley at 12:45 a.m. with a 4.9 depth, according to the survey.

Earlier that morning, a 2.8-magnitude quake struck at 12:06 a.m. and was followed by a 1.3-magnitude quake minutes later at 12:14 a.m.

These aftershocks follow an earthquake Thursday at 2:41 p.m., which was recorded at 4.0 magnitude. A 3.8-magnitude quake followed Thursday evening at 8:16 p.m., the USGS said.

All of these earthquakes have been centered around Berkeley.

Thursday's earthquake was along the Hayward Fault Line, according to the USGS.

Woman Who Died in Highway 880 Crash Identified

A woman who died in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate Highway 880 Saturday morning in Hayward has been identified by the Alameda County coroner's bureau as 20-year-old Fremont resident Malika Cade.

The crash, which was reported at 2:08 a.m. just north of the state Highway 92 interchange, blocked multiple lanes in both directions for hours, according to the California Highway Patrol.

All lanes were reopened by about 4:50 a.m.

Several injuries were reported after the deadly crash, officials said.

Scammers in San Francisco Asking for Money to Paint Curb Numbers

Scammers have been distributing fliers to homes in San Francisco asking for $20 to paint curb numbers, officials warned Friday.

The fliers claim to come from "Community Services" or "Community Address Painting Service" or similar names, and imply they are from a legitimate service, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose said.

However, the SFMTA's policy is to not paint addresses on curbs, and real SFMTA curb painting crews will never demand payment on the spot or ask that money be left at the front door for collection, Rose said.

Residents should ignore the fliers and refrain from giving money to anyone offering to paint their curb, he said.

East Palo Alto Police Investigating Double Shooting

East Palo Alto police are investigating a double shooting Friday night that sent two people to the hospital -- one in critical condition.

Around 11:33 p.m. police responded to the area of Pulgas Avenue and Cypress Street where they found two people -- 42-year-old and 38-year-old Modesto residents -- suffering from gunshot wounds, police said.

The victims were taken to Stanford Hospital for treatment.

The 42-year-old was listed in critical condition, while the 38-year-old was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, according to police.

The motivation for the shooting and any suspects are unknown, police said.

Napa Woman Pulled Over for Talking on Cellphone, Arrested for Driving Under the Influence

A 23-year-old Napa woman who was pulled over early Friday morning in Petaluma for talking on a cellphone while driving was then arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence - for the third time in two years, police said.

Officers stopped Jamie Allen at 12:51 a.m. at 175 Fairgrounds Drive for allegedly driving while on a cellphone. Officers noticed she appeared to be drunk and she told the officer she had been drinking at two bars in town and felt a buzz.

An officer conducted a DUI investigation and allegedly determined she was under the influence of alcohol and she was arrested.

Allen was on probation for a DUI and she had prior DUI arrests in 2009 and 2010, according to police.

Her car was impounded and she was taken to Sonoma County jail.

Woman Has Purse Stolen at Gunpoint in Palo Alto

A woman walking home from downtown Palo Alto had her purse stolen at gunpoint Thursday night, police said.

The woman was walking in the 300 block of Ramona Street when a lone gunman approached her and a friend from behind around 11 p.m. The suspect showed a small handgun and demanded the woman's purse, police said.

The woman complied and the suspect fled in a car. The car was parked a short distance away with a lone driver inside. Police described the vehicle as a light-colored late 1980s or early 90s Chevy two-door sedan. It was last seen driving northbound on Ramona Street.

Police canvassed the area for the suspect and vehicle but were unable to locate either.

No injuries were reported as a result of the robbery.

Man With Previous Driving Under the Influence Conviction Crashes in Santa Rosa, Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

A man with a prior driving under the influence conviction crashed on a Santa Rosa area highway Thursday night and was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, California Highway Patrol officials said.

The driver, identified as 29-year-old Santa Rosa resident Shannon Patrick Van Den Bosch, crashed a BMW sport utility vehicle through a wood and metal guardrail on southbound U.S. Highway 101 just north of Hopper Avenue at the Santa Rosa city border around 10:35 p.m., CHP officials said.

The driver had exited the SUV before officers arrived and was being treated by medical personnel. He was then transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Officers contacted Van Den Bosch at the hospital where he displayed signs of intoxication, and a preliminary alcohol-screening test allegedly confirmed he was over the legal limit.

After he was medically cleared, he was booked into jail on DUI, no proof of insurance and violation of probation charges, officials said.

Police Arrest Ex-Felon in Vallejo on Suspicion of Pimping, Pandering and Possessing Firearm, Crack Cocaine

Police arrested an ex-felon in Vallejo on Friday on suspicion of pimping and pandering and possessing a firearm and crack cocaine.

Tayvon Khalen, 49, was arrested during an undercover operation in the area of the 4300 block of Sonoma Boulevard, according to police.

During the investigation, crime suppression detectives found that Khalen was allegedly pimping and pandering a 21-year-old and a 16-year-old for the purposes of prostitution.

He was booked into Solano County jail.

Palo Alto Police Warn Community of Scam Targeting Elderly

Palo Alto police are warning community members about a scam that typically targets the elderly and can cost victims thousands of dollars.

Victims are being contacted by someone claiming to be their grandchild. The caller says they were robbed, arrested or involved in a traffic accident in another country. They claim to be in desperate need of money for attorney fees, bail, travel or vehicle repairs.

The callers also call saying they are attorneys claiming to be representing an incarcerated family member, according to police. The suspects are often overseas, and stolen money is rarely recovered.

For information about how to avoid the Grandson Scam, residents are encouraged to visit the "Common Scams and How to Avoid Them" section of the Palo Alto Police Department's website.

Woman Pulled From Surf in Pacifica Identified

A woman whose body was pulled from the surf in Pacifica on Friday morning was identified by the San Mateo County coroner's office today as 54-year-old Rosemary Furenza.

The Pacifica resident's partially clothed body was found in the water by two fishermen at Manor Beach and reported shortly after 8:30 a.m.   

A cause of death had not been determined as of Saturday afternoon, according to the coroner's office.

Bay Area Weather

It is expected to be sunny in the Bay Area today with light winds. Highs are likely to be in the lower to mid 70s.

Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening, becoming cloudy later in the night with patchy fog after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s.

Partly cloudy skies are expected Monday with patchy fog in the morning. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s to lower 70s.

San Francisco Bay Area Saturday News

Hells Angels Murderer Evading Law Enforcement

San Jose police have confirmed that a man police suspect fatally shot a Hells Angels member at a funeral for another murdered Hells Angels leader Saturday afternoon is alive and "actively evading law enforcement", police said. Steven Ruiz, 33, of San Jose killed Steve Tausan, 52, also of San Jose, during an altercation at the Oak Hill Cemetery on Curtner Avenue, and then mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind his motorcycle, said Lt. Alan Cavallo, a commander in the homicide unit. Some speculated that he was dead but police said they have confirmed that Ruiz is alive and is believed to be with a female acquaintance, Christel Renee Trujillo, who also goes by the last name Ferguson. Just minutes prior to Ruiz's confrontation with Tausan, Cavallo said Ruiz, a member of the Hells Angels' San Jose chapter, got into a fight with an "unpatched" member of the Hells Angels where he got knocked down to the ground and kicked in the head.

That fight took place in the parking lot outside of the chapel as Jeffrey Pettigrew's coffin was in the process of being moved to the burial site, Cavallo said. Pettigrew was the 51-year-old president of the Hells Angels' San Jose chapter who was killed at John Ascuaga's Nugget casino resort in Sparks, Nev., on the night of Sept. 23. Ruiz's friends picked him up and brushed him off and in the meantime, someone went to find Tausan to confront Ruiz, Cavallo said. Tausan then came to Ruiz and the two got into a fight. Ruiz took out a handgun and shot Tausan, police said. Police have obtained a Ramey warrant for Ruiz's arrest. He has not been seen or heard from since Saturday. Ruiz is considered armed and dangerous and Trujillo's life may be in danger, police said Friday. Police believe Ruiz has two black eyes and other facial injuries. Ruiz and Trujillo may be traveling in a gold or pewter Chevrolet Suburban. Ruiz has family in Arizona and New York who he may attempt to contact, police said.

Man, Woman Injured in a Shooting in San Francisco's Tenderloin Neighborhood

A man and woman were injured in a shooting in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood Friday evening, police said. The shooting occurred near Turk and Taylor streets at around 5:30 p.m. Police said the suspect or suspects drove up the first block of Turk Street and shot a man multiple times. A woman was also struck by the gunfire and police believe she was not an intended target. Both victims were taken to a hospital. The woman is in critical condition and the man is in stable condition, according to police. Officers are searching for the suspect and suspect vehicle, which was described as a gray four-door vehicle.

Women's Body Pulled From Pacifica

A partially clothed woman's body was pulled from the surf in Pacifica Friday morning, according to police. The body was found in the water by two fishermen at Manor Beach Friday morning and reported shortly after 8:30 a.m. A cause of death has not been determined and an autopsy will be conducted at a later date, police said. The woman's identity is being withheld pending notification of her next of kin.

Oakland Evangelist Wrong Again

An Oakland evangelist who famously -- and incorrectly -- predicted the end of the world on May 21 had said the "final end of everything" would probably happen Friday. Harold Camping, founder of the nonprofit Christian radio network Family Radio Worldwide, has posted several lengthy statements on his website, www.familyradio.com, explaining why the original date of May 21 was incorrect and predicting that Friday would most likely be "the final end of everything."

May 21 was the beginning of God's final judgment, and the day when he stopped saving sinners in preparation for the end of days, Camping wrote. Oct. 21 is the end of a period of final judgment, and "at this point it looks like it will be the final end of everything," Camping said in an undated recorded statement. Camping has assured his followers that he believes there will be no pain for unbelievers or dramatic apocalypse. "I really believe that there's going to be no big display of any kind, the end is going to come very, very quietly, probably in the next month, probably by Oct. 21," Camping said in the recorded statement. Camping gained national publicity for his prediction after his organization placed billboards around the Bay Area and across the country warning that God would destroy the world on May 21. Critics at the time, however, noted that Camping had also made such a prediction in 1994. Camping suffered a stroke in June, but his recorded message indicated that he was at home with his wife and making progress. A person who answered the phone at Family Radio Network said there would be no media interviews or statements released regarding Camping's prediction.

"Plaid Bandit" Suspect Arrested Friday

An arrest has been made in connection with a series of bank robberies in San Francisco committed by a man dubbed the "Plaid Bandit," FBI officials said Friday. Donald Gene Booth, 68, was arrested Tuesday at his home in San Francisco and was scheduled to make his initial appearance Friday afternoon in San Francisco Superior Court. Booth, who was arrested based on an anonymous tip, has been linked to four bank robberies in San Francisco that occurred on Oct. 6, July 27, June 21 and June 10. Three of the four robberies were at banks downtown on Montgomery Street and one was on California Street. In the most recent robbery on Oct. 6 at the East West Bank on the 500 block of Montgomery Street, the suspect walked into the bank, brandished a handgun and demanded money from the teller. The suspect walked with a cane in one of the robberies and was known to wear plaid shirts. The investigation into the robberies was conducted jointly by the FBI and San Francisco police.

16-Year-Old Boy Gunned Down in Salinas, Gang Related

A 16-year-old boy was gunned down this week while riding his bicycle in Salinas in what police are calling a gang-related shooting. The boy was riding his bike on Dewey Avenue near Beech Street shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday when he was chased by unknown suspects in a grayish-green minivan, according to police. The boy turned north on Beech Street and tried to run away on foot, but a suspect described as a Hispanic male in his 20s, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants, got out of the van and started shooting at him. The victim was struck and fell to the ground. The suspect then ran up and shot him several more times before getting back into the van and fleeing. The van was last seen driving east on Alma Avenue, police said. The boy was found suffering multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and waist, and was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Transient Pleads Not Guilty To Hate Crime Charges

A transient accused of a racially motivated attack on San Francisco's Market Street on Wednesday afternoon pleaded not guilty Friday to hate crime charges, prosecutors and police said. Hosea Matavao, 48, pleaded not guilty to charges of battery and child endangerment with hate crime enhancements in connection with an attack that occurred at about 1:35 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Market and Eighth streets. A couple was walking by Matavao with their 3-year-old and 20-month-old children in a stroller when he directed a racially derogatory comment toward them, police said. When the mother responded, Matavao allegedly attacked her, punching her in the face repeatedly, then punched her husband in the nose when he tried to intervene, according to police.

The mother tried to leave with her children in the stroller but was followed by Matavao, who kicked a tarp on the stroller, causing it to contact the top of the 3-year-old's head. When a witness tried to intervene, he was also punched by the suspect, police said. Two security guards who were nearby at the Civic Center Farmer's Market were called to assist by an employee at the market and were able to take Matavao into custody. The victims in the attack suffered minor facial injuries and did not require hospitalization, according to police. Matavao was ordered held on $500,000 bail at his arraignment in San Francisco Superior Court Friday afternoon, district attorney's spokesman Omid Talai said. He will return to court for the preliminary hearing on Nov. 3, Talai said.

Vallejo Councilwoman Joanne Schivley Jumps Into Mayoral Race

Vallejo Councilwoman Joanne Schivley, who has frequently criticized the city's financial practices that led it to file bankruptcy, is challenging Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis in the mayoral race on Nov. 8. Schivley, a three-term councilwoman, said the current City Council has wasted more than $15 million on Davis' watch and approved three employee contracts that included pay raises while the city was in bankruptcy. She said it is time for leadership to "think outside the box." "We can improve public safety, restore city services, and still live within our means without new sales taxes. To do this, I will work to create new sustainable employee contracts that will include pension reform," Schivley wrote on her campaign website. Davis said the city, during his four-year term, has gone from financial uncertainty to a balanced budget with a reserve.

The mayor acknowledged city services have been reduced because of the economy and "the financial situation I inherited," but he said finances are now stabilized and the city is rebuilding. Davis said he has kept his campaign promises to change how Vallejo does business, built consensus and made economic development a priority. In addition to the mayoral race, seven candidates, including incumbent Erin Hannigan, are running for three seats on the Vallejo City Council. The other candidates are pastor Matthias Esoimeme, information technology consultant Sam Kurshan, local government administrator Johnathan Logan Sr., retired Navy commander Jesus C. Malgapo, bankruptcy attorney Robert H. McConnell and retired police officer Bob Sampayan.

California's Unemployment rate drops from 12.1% to 11.9%

California's unemployment rate dropped slightly in September, but remains above the national rate, according to data released Friday by the state's Employment Development Department. The state unemployment rate dropped from 12.1 percent in August to 11.9 percent in September, state officials said. The national rate has remained unchanged since July at 9.1 percent. Bay Area counties were all below the state average, but only a handful -- Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco and Napa counties -- were below the national average. Solano County had the highest unemployment rate in the region in September at 11 percent, followed by Alameda County at 10.2 percent and Contra Costa County at 10.1 percent. Marin County was the lowest, at 7.4 percent.

San Mateo County was second lowest at 8 percent, and San Francisco third lowest at 8.3 percent. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee released a statement about the city's rate, which dropped 0.5 percent during the month. "Today's unemployment report shows that the city's tireless efforts to support job creation and drive economic growth such as in the technology, innovation and small business sectors are working," Lee said.

Bay Area Weather Forecast

It is expected to be sunny in the Bay Area today with light winds. Highs are likely to be in the mid 60s to lower 70s. Clear skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be in the upper 50s. Sunny skies are expected Sunday with light winds. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s to lower 70s.

Teen Injured In Shooting At Park In Oceanview, Refuses To Talk To Cops

A teen was shot in San Francisco's Oceanview neighborhood on Thursday evening but refused to cooperate with police investigating the case.

The shooting was reported at about 5:05 p.m. at a park near the Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreational Center in the 600 block of Capitol Avenue, police said.

The 19-year-old man was at the park when he was shot in the knee by a suspect, according to police.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries.

Investigators responded to try to find out more information about the shooting, but the victim was uncooperative, refusing to talk about it, police said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Woman Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries In Crash Near Broadway Tunnel

A woman suffered life-threatening injuries in a crash near San Francisco's Broadway Tunnel on Thursday evening, police said.

The crash was reported at about 7:20 p.m. near the intersection of Broadway and Powell Street.

The 56-year-old woman was driving a vehicle east in the tunnel when the car's front left tire came loose, according to police.

The woman lost control of the vehicle, which struck two parked cars just outside of the tunnel, police said.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for serious internal injuries. No one else was injured in the crash, according to police.

 

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Chinatown Rec Center To Be Named After Heroic September 11th Flight Attendant

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission approved Thursday to name a Chinatown recreation center after a local Chinese-American flight attendant who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

According to department officials the commission unanimously approved to name the center at 1199 Mason St. as the Betty Ong Chinese Recreation Center.

The center is undergoing renovations and is expected to reopen in early 2012.

Mayor Ed Lee requested in September the department honor the city's heroine by dedicating the center with her name, Betty Ong, officials said.

Ong grew up in Chinatown and went to San Francisco public schools and as a city youth played at the center with her siblings, officials said.

She was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, which was flying from Boston to Los Angeles on Sept. 11, 2001. She was reportedly the first person to report that the plane had been hijacked. Her call helped advise air traffic controllers to ground every plane in the country.

"(Ong) is truly an American hero, and we are proud to have a recreation center named after her," said department general manager Phil Ginsburg.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Friday News Roundup

Two Earthquakes Rattled The Bay Area Thursday

The Bay Area was rattled by two earthquakes Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A 4.0-magnitude earthquake struck the area at 2:41 p.m. That quake was centered about two miles east-southeast of Berkeley, and had a depth of 6.1 miles, according to the USGS.

Another quake struck at 8:16 p.m. and was centered about one mile east of Berkley with a depth of 6 miles, the USGS said.

The temblors shook areas throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Danville, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, Oakland and Berkeley.    

After Thursday's first quake, Keith Knudsen, deputy director of the USGS Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, said it was a standard Hayward Fault Line quake.

He said the temblor was of the typical "strike-slip" variety, in which two sides of the fault slide horizontally, he said.

The earthquakes occurred on the same day as the Great California ShakeOut, a statewide drill in which millions of Californians practiced ducking and covering at 10:20 a.m. Thursday.     

All Bay Area residents are urged to visit www.72hours.org for emergency planning resources and tips.

Testimony Given About Major Wildfires In Oakland Hills In 1991

Every two decades or so, there has been a major wildfire in the hills above Oakland and Berkeley, where wildland open spaces interface with densely populated urban neighborhoods.

Twenty years ago, a blaze was sparked in those hills that grew into an inferno that many Bay Area residents will never forget.

The 1991 East Bay Hills Fire killed 25 people, injured 52 others, and destroyed 3,354 single-family homes and 456 apartment units. At the time, it was the most destructive fire in state history.

Landmarks disappeared, along with familiarity and a sense of security. Some 10,000 people were left homeless, and damage exceeded $1.5 billion.

One survivor of the 1991 firestorm, who provided testimony for a civil grand jury investigation of the fire, said the city has made substantial improvements to reduce the risk of another fire disaster but that there are still unresolved issues.

Peter Scott, now 77, lost his mother in the fire when she was trapped in his family's Alvarado Road home as it burned down.    

He said help didn't arrive as quickly as it could have, in part because the fire department's communications system was overwhelmed.

Peter Scott, the Alvarado Road resident, said the city and community are more prepared now than they were 20 years ago, but that more needs to be done.

"I think that we have a good chance of beating other fires in the future," Scott said. "We can prevent it and put it out with the improvements that have been made."

Scott, an architect, helped design a new fire station on Amito Drive.

During the 1991 fire, 800 structures burned in the first hour, and more than 300 burned per hour for the next seven hours. When the inferno was at its most intense, one home was consumed every 11 seconds, according to the federal report.

Scott said vegetation close to homes, as well as crowded narrow streets, exposed utilities and an inadequate water system, are all vulnerabilities. All were identified as problems in a 2006 citizens' review by an Oakland Hills community association.

Scott said those issues and others have yet to be resolved.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Release 911 Shooting Rampage Tapes

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Thursday released 911 tapes from the deadly shooting rampage at a Cupertino quarry two weeks ago.    

"Have you ever seen a massacre?" One caller who had been shot asked an emergency dispatcher. "That's what it looks like right here in the office."

On Oct. 5, 49-year-old Shareef Allman, described by authorities as a disgruntled employee, opened fire on about 15 of his fellow employees at a 4 a.m. meeting at the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant, located at 24001 Stevens Creek Blvd.

One caller who was breathing heavily told the dispatcher that the shooter "came late to work and he got a cup of coffee." He said the man went outside the back door and when he returned, he had an assault rifle and a handgun.

Allman ultimately shot nine people and killed three before fleeing.

The fatally wounded were Manuel Pinon, 48, of Newman, John Robert Vallejos, 51, and Mark Munoz, 59, both of San Jose.

The 911 caller who was one of the victims told the dispatcher he'd been shot twice in the arms and once in the leg.

"But it's not me I'm worried about," he said to the dispatcher. "It's more my supervisor, he's got two by the heart."

When instructed by the dispatcher to use a cloth to help his colleague, the man said, "There's blood all over. No cloth is going to stop what's going on right here."

He identified the shooter as Allman and said he had gone "postal."    

"He pulled out an AK-47 and started shooting everybody," the caller said.

After leaving the quarry, Allman shot a woman during an attempted carjacking hours later in a Hewlett-Packard company parking lot.

The caller who reported the incident was a woman who was passing through the area.

Allman escaped and fled to a nearby neighborhood, where he was found the following morning crouched behind a car parked on Lorne Way.

He died during a confrontation with deputies, ending a massive manhunt by law enforcement agencies.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office initially reported that three deputies had shot and killed Allman, but last week the medical examiner's office announced that though he had several other wounds, Allman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Person Of Interest From San Leandro Tattoo Party Arrested Thursday Morning

A person of interest in a shooting earlier this month that left three dead and three others injured after a tattoo party held at a San Leandro warehouse was arrested by police early Thursday morning, police said.

At 7 a.m., an Oakland police SWAT team assisted San Leandro police in serving a search and arrest warrant in the 1900 block of 21st Avenue, according to San Leandro police.

Police arrested Paul Arthur Stevenson III, 20, of Oakland, who was taken into custody without incident.

Stevenson was wanted in connection with the shooting that took place early the morning of Oct. 2 after a tattoo warehouse party at 2661 Alvarado St. near Aladdin Avenue in San Leandro.

After the party, two suspects shot at a green Ford Explorer containing seven people, striking six, three of whom died from their injuries. The other three victims have since been released from the hospital.    

The seventh victim ran from the car after the incident, but police later located him.

Killed in the shooting were 16-year-old Leneasha Northington, 19-year-old Shanice Kiel and 23-year-old Joshua Alford.    

San Leandro police estimated shortly after the shooting that about 200 people attended the party, most in their late teens or early 20s, and that the party was heavily promoted on social media sites like Facebook.

The party had ended by the time the shooting happened around 1:20 a.m., but there was still a large group of people in the parking lot, police said.

The City of San Leandro is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a second suspect, who has only been described as a black male who wore dark clothing.

Rohnert Park Police Arrested Former Bay Area Man Associated With Rohnert Park Murder In Las Vegas

Rohnert Park police have arrested a former Bay Area man in Las Vegas in connection with the shooting murder of a Rohnert Park man in April.    

Berry Lamiris Adams, 32, was arrested Tuesday with assistance from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Rohnert Park police Sgt. Jeff Nicks said.

He was arrested on a warrant for being a felon in possession of a gun, being a felon in possession of a gun causing great bodily injury and for pimping and pandering, Nicks said.

Adams lived in San Francisco, Richmond, Citrus Heights and Las Vegas, Nicks said.

He is suspected of killing 20-year-old Kevin Craft whose body was found in the west parking lot of the Best Western Inn at 6500 Redwood Drive in Rohnert Park around 8 a.m. on April 22, according to police.

Police received information from an unidentified woman and collected evidence from a Citrus Heights residence the day after the killing, Nicks said.

Adams was seen in a video taken by a camera in a convenience store across the street from the Best Western Hotel, Nicks said.

Craft was well known by employees and patrons of Innovative Screen Printing and Escape Paintball in Rohnert Park.

Adams was booked into the Clark County jail on the warrants and will be extradited to Sonoma County within the next 10 to 30 days, Nicks said.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann Made An Appearance In San Francisco

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican candidate for president in 2012, made a speaking appearance in San Francisco Thursday, expounding on the theme that America thrives when its government stays out of the way of its businesses.

The Minnesota congresswoman spoke for about 30 minutes at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club on domestic and foreign policy, then fielded questions from the audience on a variety of topics, both political and personal.

Bachmann said the U.S. used to lead the world in innovation, and "San Francisco has been the hub of much of that innovation," she said.

However, job growth around the country has been stymied by what she called the "anti-business policies" of the Obama administration, citing the closure of the Solyndra plant in nearby Fremont.

Bachmann said the U.S. Department of Energy's $535 million loan guarantee to the company, which announced in August it was filing for bankruptcy, was an example of "when government gets in the business of blindly choosing winners and losers."

Bachmann said businesses need healthy competition without government intervention to thrive, and brought up recently deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, saying he "represented that competitive ideal at its best."

She said as president, she would overhaul the country's tax structure, including establishing a corporate tax rate among the lowest in the world.

During the question-and-answer portion of the event, Bachmann, seen as a leader of the conservative-minded Tea Party movement, answered questions about the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in New York City that has spread around the country, including in San Francisco, Oakland and elsewhere in the Bay Area.

She said she saw the two movements as diametrically opposed on how to solve the problems of the country.

While the Tea Party has pushed for "permanent solutions driven by the private sector," the other movement is pushing for "government-directed solutions ... and that hasn't worked," Bachmann said.    

Plus, she said, "the Tea Party picks up its trash afterward," a dig at Occupy Wall Street protesters and their brethren around the nation.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

It is expected to be cloudy in the Bay Area today before becoming partly cloudy. Patchy fog is expected in the morning. Highs are likely to be in the 60s.

Mostly clear skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s.

Sunny skies are expected Saturday. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s to lower 70s.

 

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Man Peppered-Sprayed, Robbed Of Ipad, Cellphone On M-Ocean View Train

A man was pepper-sprayed and robbed of an iPad and cellphone while riding a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail vehicle on Wednesday evening, police said.

The robbery occurred at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday on an M-Ocean View train that was traveling in the 4000 block of 19th Avenue in the city's Ingleside Heights neighborhood.

The 26-year-old victim was approached by a suspect who grabbed the iPad out of his hands. Then a second suspect approached and sprayed him in the face with the pepper spray and grabbed his cellphone, according to police.

The suspects, described only as men in their early 20s, then fled from the Muni vehicle and had not been found as of this morning, police said.

The victim suffered minor injuries in the attack but did not require hospitalization.

Anyone with information about the robbery is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Elderly Woman Hospitalized After Excelsior Robbery

An elderly woman was hospitalized after being pushed to the ground and robbed of a gold necklace and pendant by two other women in San Francisco's Excelsior District on Wednesday evening, police said.

The robbery was reported at 5:11 p.m. near Excelsior Avenue and London Street.

The 76-year-old victim was walking when the two women approached her, pushed her to the ground and snatched her necklace, according to police.

The suspects, described only as two women in their mid-20s, then ran to a vehicle and drove away. They had not been found as of this morning, police said.

The victim was taken to California Pacific Medical Center's St. Luke's campus to be treated for a hip injury.

Anyone with information about the robbery is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Nearly 7,000 Lose Power, About 300 Customers Remain In The Dark This Morning

Nearly 7,000 customers in San Francisco's Western Addition and Haight-Ashbury neighborhoods were briefly without power this morning and almost 300 customers are still in the dark, a PG&E spokesman said.

A power outage started at 5:24 a.m. after an underground equipment failure at Golden Gate Avenue and Fillmore Street. The outage knocked out power to 6,910 customers, spokesman JD Guidi said.

At 6:02 a.m. power was restored to all but 291 customers, who still have no power more than an hour later.

There is no estimate when power will be restored for remaining customers, Guidi said.

A San Francisco fire official said there was smoke coming from a manhole at Golden Gate Avenue and Fillmore Street at 5:32 a.m., which is related to the outage.

PG&E crews are at the scene, working to restore power, Guidi said.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Thursday News Roundup

Woman Drags Truck Driver To Safety On US Highway 101

A woman who witnessed a fiery crash involving a big-rig on southbound U.S. Highway 101 in San Francisco early Wednesday morning is being lauded for saving a life after she dragged the unconscious truck driver to safety.

The crash occurred around 5 a.m. where the highway crosses over 16th Street, near Interstate Highway 80, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Keenia Williams, 22, was honored by fire and CHP officials at a noon news conference at the CHP's San Francisco headquarters for her heroic actions.

Williams, a San Francisco resident, said she was driving her 5-year-old daughter to school when she looked in her rearview mirror and saw a black vehicle spin out, another car hit it, then saw the big-rig slam into the cars and overturn.

Williams said she then saw the driver of the cement truck get out of the car and pass out on the ground as fuel from the crashed big-rig caught fire a short distance away.

She said she stopped her car and "my first instinct was to run over there, put my arms under his arms and drag him all the way to my car."    

Williams got water and poured it on the truck driver's face. The driver, later identified as 52-year-old Concord resident Michael Finerty, regained consciousness and said he was in pain, she said.

Meanwhile, fire and CHP crews had responded to the scene from the north side of the accident to put out the flames, which had engulfed the big-rig. They looked for victims, but did not immediately see Williams and Finerty on the other side of the wreckage.

"She made all the difference in the world," Deputy Fire Chief Tom Siragusa said. "We probably wouldn't have seen him if no one else had stopped."

Judge Granted Motion To Dismiss Michael Gressett's Grand Jury Indictment

A judge granted a motion Wednesday to dismiss a 13-count grand jury indictment against Michael Gressett, a Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor who was accused of raping a junior colleague.

Judge Thomas Hastings issued the decision Wednesday, saying that "even though there was sufficient probable cause to indict the defendant", inadmissible evidence introduced by the prosecution and prosecutors' failure to provide key evidence that would have helped vindicate the defendant, violated Gressett's right to a fair trial.

Defense attorneys Daniel Russo and Michael Kotin had filed the motion to dismiss the indictment, which charged Gressett with the rape and sodomy of his colleague -- referred to in court as Jane Doe -- during a lunch break at his Martinez home on May 8, 2008.

During testimony in the criminal trial, the colleague stated that she faced discrimination and was turned down for a full-time position after reporting the alleged rape.

In the 68-page order to dismiss the indictment, Hastings said that the state Attorney General's office, which is prosecuting the case, failed to tell the grand jury that the woman won a $450,000 settlement after filing a civil claim against the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office.

In addition, the prosecution did not disclose her "alleged comment that she was raped by strangers", Hastings said.

Over the past three years, the defense attorneys have said that Gressett and the woman engaged in consensual sex on May 8, 2008, and that the alleged victim falsely accused Gressett of rape for political motivations.    

Attorney General spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said the state is evaluating its options in the case, which include appealing Hastings' ruling or re-filing criminal charges.

Gressett, 54, is on paid administrative leave from the district attorney's office and was not available for comment.

A hearing on the case is scheduled for Oct. 26, Russo said.

Oakland Attorneys Call For Federal Investigation Of Man's Death Allegedly Caused By Oakland Police

Two Oakland attorneys are calling for a federal criminal investigation into the death of a man who allegedly suffered fatal injuries during an arrest by Oakland police in 2000.

Attorneys John Burris and Jim Chanin said during a news conference Wednesday that six to eight Oakland police officers engaged in a cover-up of the beating of Jerry Amaro III, 36, of Oakland, after he suffered broken ribs and other injuries in police custody and did not receive adequate medical attention.

Burris and Chanin said evidence in the case, which suggested that many of the officers who testified committed perjury and obstruction of justice, has disappeared.

Amaro's family was awarded a $1.7 million settlement this week by a unanimous vote of the Oakland City Council following a wrongful death suit by Amaro's mother.

"When you pay someone that kind of money, there's an admission that some wrongdoing has taken place," Burris said.    

"This case cannot end with this settlement," Burris said.    

The settlement came following a decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a statute of limitations did not apply in the decade-old case because of stonewalling by the Police Department.

Chanin and Burris are calling for a Federal Grand Jury investigation into Amaro's death and the subsequent cover-up to determine if officers involved could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice or perjury.

Occupy San Jose Movement Began Wednesday

Several people participating in the "Occupy San Jose" movement took to the streets of downtown San Jose Wednesday to rail against corporate power.

Consisting on average of around 50 regular protesters, the San Jose faction of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement isn't as strong in numbers as their counterparts in New York City or other Bay Area cities, but they are no less enthusiastic.

On their march from City Hall, where some have set up an encampment for the past two weeks, down to the Federal Building, many protesters chanted "Corporate greed has got to go!" and carried signs that read, "The Planet is not for Sale!" and "Banks Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out!"

Motorists driving past honked their horns in solidarity. One participant said while police officers cited three protesters for camping and trespassing on Tuesday night there are also instances where officers have been supportive and sympathetic to the protesters. He said one night the fire department had pizza delivered to those camped out at City Hall.

"They're part of the 99 percent, too," said 23-year-old Gilroy resident Gabriel Padilla, alluding to an issue that is at the crux of the worldwide rallies -- the economic disparity between the wealthiest 1 percent of the population and the other 99 percent.

"I have a daughter, and when I see what's going on in this world as far as our government, I think, 'what's going to happen to her future?'" Padilla said. "I'm in it to try to bring the power back to the people so that there's justice."

Padilla, who works as a horse trainer in Gilroy, said he became involved with the Occupy San Jose movement when it began on Oct. 2 and has noticed it growing since.

Just like other cities around the country and the world, the movement in San Jose was inspired by the anti-Wall Street rallies in New York City that began last month. The groups are protesting against "banks, illegal bank operations, corporate greed, and government corruption," said Padilla.

Former Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums Gave Testimony In Civil Trial On Wrongful Termination

Former Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums gave his second day of testimony Wednesday in a civil trial on a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the city by former city administrator Deborah Edgerly.    

Dellums testified in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward Wednesday morning that Edgerly had reneged on a deal that would have allowed her to retire quietly while police investigated whether she had intervened in police action in order to protect her nephew.

The former mayor said he was taken aback that she didn't follow through with the deal, especially since he was facing criticism for not firing her right away.

"I'm the one guy out here that's not trying to throw you under the bus ... I was taking a beating myself," Dellums said in court.    

Dellums finally fired Edgerly in July 2008, a month after police said she tried to prevent officers from searching the vehicle of her nephew, William Lovan, who was suspected of being a member of the Acorn gang.    

The incident occurred during "Operation Nutcracker," a police crackdown on the Acorn gang that resulted in dozens of arrests.

Edgerly claimed in her lawsuit against the city that she was ultimately fired because of gender discrimination.

Dellums insisted in court Wednesday that he never discriminated against Edgerly and had tried to contact her before the firing, even though he did not respond to a letter from Edgerly requesting that they meet in the presence of a lawyer.

Though the ex-mayor said he was aware of the letter, dated one day before Edgerly's termination, by then he felt the situation "had gone beyond mutual respect" and that he had no other option than to fire her, he said.

Attorney Robert Shwarts, who is representing Oakland in the case, said closing arguments in the trial are expected to take place on Monday.

Bay Area State Legislators Fight "Assault" On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Two Bay Area state legislators called on federal prosecutors Wednesday to "cease your senseless assault" on medical marijuana dispensaries, but at the same time said they want to talk to U.S. officials to clarify the goals of the crackdown.

State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma, and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, spoke at a news conference at the State Building in San Francisco.

"I urge the federal government to stand down in its massive attack on medical marijuana dispensaries," Leno said.

"California voters intended that patients should have safe and affordable access to medical marijuana," he said.

The two legislators said they are considering proposing state laws to regulate genuine dispensaries and prevent abuses of the California's medical marijuana law.

But they said new state laws would be worthwhile only if lawmakers can gain clarification from the U.S. Department of Justice that state regulations would affect the current federal law enforcement effort.    

"To be successful legislatively, we would need some indication from the federal government that (the state legislation) would impact" the U.S. initiative, Ammiano said.

The legislators said they hoped to talk to U.S. Justice Department officials within a week or so.

"Call the dogs off and let's sit down," Leno said.    

The news conference was in response to an Oct. 7 announcement by the four regional U.S. attorneys in California that they will boost criminal and civil enforcement efforts to shut down large-scale commercial marijuana enterprises.

California's Compassionate Use Act, approved by voters as Proposition 215 in 1996, allows seriously ill patients to use marijuana with a doctor's permission. But federal laws criminalizing the drug make no exception for state medical marijuana laws.

The four chief prosecutors, including U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of Northern California, said they don't plan to target individual patients, but said they won't allow large, for-profit enterprises to operate in the guise of providing medical marijuana.

Walnut Creek Police Investigate Racially Driven Threatening Letter

Walnut Creek police continue to investigate a racially driven, threatening letter received by an elementary school student, Walnut Creek School District Superintendent Patricia Wool said.

A fifth grader at Buena Vista Elementary School found a note on her desk Friday that was "inflammatory in its threat and racial attack," Wool said.

The note, which Wool said was clearly written by a student, was turned over to Principal Cindy Jaconette and she began to investigate.    

Jaconette spoke with the threatened child's father before letting the child go home. Police were informed of the incident after a meeting with the child's mother, Wool said.

Police visited the homes of potential student witnesses of the incident. Police, along with Jaconette, met with the fifth grade classes at the school to discuss the dangers of threatening behavior, Wool said.    

Police determined there was no real threat of physical danger to any student but the matter is still under investigation, Wool said.    

"Students who committed these thoughtless, frightening acts will be disciplined pursuant to the California Education Code and district policies," Wool said.

The California Education Code states a student may be subject to suspension or expulsion if the student "caused, attempted to cause or threatened to cause physical injury to another person."

Dell Plans To Add 200 New Jobs To Its Santa Clara Campus

Dell Wednesday announced plans to add nearly 200 jobs at its new Santa Clara campus, which opened Wednesday and will focus on research and development.

The company's chairman and CEO Michael Dell said that by the end of 2012, roughly 700 people will work at the new facility doing network design, storage development, cloud computing, and software development.    

Gov. Jerry Brown attended a 10:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting at the campus Wednesday.

"We continue to be a place of pioneers, of people who have left one place to come over and make something better," Brown said. "And that's the genius of California. So I say 'Welcome Dell.' You're joining pioneers, and you're going to help promote the pioneering spirit for the state of California."

Following remarks by the governor and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews, Dell cited Silicon Valley's talent pool as one of the reasons for the company's expansion there.

"We're here because of ... the talent, the highly skilled workforce that will enable Dell to continue to innovate, to take risks, to drive the new developments in our business," Dell said.    

The 240,000-square-foot, two-building campus includes customer solutions and briefing centers, a cafeteria, and a fitness center.

The Silicon Valley campus complements Dell's other research and development center in Ra'anana, Israel, and development work at the company's headquarters in Round Rock, Texas.

"Our ongoing expansion here in the United States is proof that with the right skills and talent, companies can grow and thrive even in a challenged economy," Dell said.

The new facility will allow Dell to consolidate several local companies the company has acquired, including Zing, Ocarina, Scalent, and Everdream. Two other companies, KACE and Force10, will remain at their current Silicon Valley facilities.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

It is expected to be cloudy in the Bay Area today before becoming sunny. Patchy fog is expected in the morning. Highs are likely to be in the 60s.

Mostly cloudy skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s.

Sunny skies are expected Friday. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s to lower 70s.

 

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Ammiano And Leno Urge U.S. To End Crackdown On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Two Bay Area state legislators called on federal prosecutors today to "cease your senseless assault" on medical marijuana dispensaries, but at the same time said they want to talk to U.S. officials to clarify the goals of the crackdown.

State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma, and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, spoke at a news conference at the State Building in San Francisco.

"I urge the federal government to stand down in its massive attack on medical marijuana dispensaries," Leno said.

"California voters intended that patients should have safe and affordable access to medical marijuana," he said.

The two legislators said they are considering proposing state laws to regulate genuine dispensaries and prevent abuses of the California's medical marijuana law.

But they said new state laws would be worthwhile only if lawmakers can gain clarification from the U.S. Department of Justice that state regulations would affect the current federal law enforcement effort. 

"To be successful legislatively, we would need some indication from the federal government that (the state legislation) would impact" the U.S. initiative, Ammiano said.

The legislators said they hoped to talk to U.S. Justice Department officials within a week or so.

"Call the dogs off and let's sit down," Leno said.    

The news conference was in response to an Oct. 7 announcement by the four regional U.S. attorneys in California that they will boost criminal and civil enforcement efforts to shut down large-scale commercial marijuana enterprises. 

California's Compassionate Use Act, approved by voters as Proposition 215 in 1996, allows seriously ill patients to use marijuana with a doctor's permission. But federal laws criminalizing the drug make no exception for state medical marijuana laws.

The four chief prosecutors, including U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of Northern California, said they don't plan to target individual patients, but said they won't allow large, for-profit enterprises to operate in the guise of providing medical marijuana.

Ammiano and Leno said the crackdown is confusing in light of previous statements by the Obama Administration Justice Department that going after individuals who comply with state medical marijuana laws should not be a prosecution priority.

But U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said officials have made it clear "that we're not focused on individual patients with serious illnesses like cancer or their immediate caregivers."    

She cited the department's Oct. 7 statement saying, "The statewide enforcement effort is aimed at curtailing the large, for-profit marijuana industry that has developed since the passage of California's Proposition 215 in 1996.

"That industry has swelled to include numerous drug-trafficking enterprises that operate commercial grow operations, intricate distribution systems and hundreds of marijuana stores across the state," the agency said.    

Ammiano conceded at the news conference that the state government doesn't have the power to block the federal effort.

"In the end, they'll probably do whatever they want," he said.    

In the announcement earlier this month, Haag said her office will begin enforcement in Northern California by targeting dispensaries near schools and parks where children are present.

One such store is the Divinity Tree Patients Wellness Cooperative, operated by Charley Pappas at 958 Geary St. at the edge of the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, two blocks away from a small public playground used by children.

Pappas said his landlord, who has been in favor of the dispensary, received a letter from Haag Sept. 28 threatening the landlord with forfeiture of his property and criminal prosecution carrying a potential sentence of 40 years in prison if the store is not removed within 45 days.

"We're very fearful," Pappas said at the news conference. "The efforts of the past seven years will be all for nothing."    

Pappas said the co-op, incorporated under state law in March 2005, has nearly 3,000 patients as its members, many of whom are low-income citizens.  The marijuana is grown by co-op members and "we've always tried to do everything the state told us to do," Pappas said.

 

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Side Mirror Of Vehicle Strikes Boy Aboard Powell-Hyde Cable Car

A car made contact with a child aboard a San Francisco Municipal Railway cable car this afternoon, briefly disrupting service on the agency's Powell-Hyde line this afternoon, a Muni spokesman said.

The accident was reported around 4 p.m. near the intersection of Powell and Sutter streets, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

Rose said the car drifted toward the cable car and its side mirror struck an 11-year-old boy in the stomach who was on the cable car. The child was treated at the scene and released, he said.

Service on the line was disrupted for about 30 minutes because of the accident, but regular service resumed as of around 4:30 p.m., Rose said.

Bus shuttles ran along the line during the disruption.

The official cause of the crash remains under investigation, he said.

 

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