SF News

More Than 100 Arrested In Large-Scale Law Enforcement Operation

More than 100 people were recently arrested across several Northern California counties in a large-scale law enforcement operation involving federal, state and local officials, authorities said today.

The investigation, which included officials from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with state and local law enforcement, led to the seizure of firearms, stolen vehicles and narcotics along with the 100-plus arrests.

The suspects arrested were from Alameda, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties, authorities said.

More information about the operation is set to be released at a news conference in Gilroy this afternoon with state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

The news conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Gilroy's City Council chambers.

 

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Auto Crash Sends Seven To Hospital

Seven people were transported to hospitals after a multi-vehicle crash near San Francisco State University Thursday night, fire officials said.

San Francisco Fire Department responded to a crash at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Junipero Serra Boulevard at 9:33 p.m., fire officials said.

Eleven units, including six ambulances, responded to the scene, according to San Francisco Fire Department.

The extent of the injuries was not immediately available.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Friday News Roundup

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Announces Interim Police Chief

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan announced Thursday that Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan will serve as the city's interim police chief following the surprise resignation of Chief Anthony Batts earlier this week.    

Jordan was sworn in at about 1:40 p.m. Thursday at the conclusion of a news conference at City Hall.

Quan said that Jordan, who has been with the department for 23 years, is engaged with the community and well-known to Oakland residents.

"It's that kind of knowledge of this community, that kind of love for this community, that's going to make him an effective chief," Quan said.    

Jordan said that when he first came to the city about a quarter-century ago, "I fell in love with Oakland."

"This was an opportunity for me to give back some to the city of Oakland," he said.

Jordan served as a patrol officer for 10 years and a field supervisor for 13 years, and has served a total of seven years with the department's SWAT team.

"I bring to you a very well-rounded, balanced career," he said.   

Batts, who was appointed chief by then-Mayor Ron Dellums in August 2009, announced his resignation in a letter on Tuesday, saying that as chief he had limited control but full accountability for Oakland's high crime rates.

Jordan has already served as acting police chief in Oakland; he was named to the post in February 2009 after former Chief Wayne Tucker decided to retire, saying he said he had lost faith in the City Council's ability to fully fund the Police Department and implement reforms.

Since Batts took over, Jordan has served as assistant chief.

Two Men Convicted Of Beatings In Tenderloin

Two men were convicted last week for the beating of two Mexican nationals in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood in November in a case that District Attorney George Gascon said Thursday highlights a growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the city and around the country.

Robert Allen, 39, and Justin Meskan, 29, were found guilty in San Francisco Superior Court on Oct. 7 of assault and battery charges stemming from the Nov. 10 beating of two Hispanic men outside the Nite Cap bar at O'Farrell and Hyde streets, prosecutors said.

But while prosecutors claimed the attack was racially motivated, jurors rejected hate crime enhancements to the charges against the pair.    

The attack started when a group that included Allen and Meskan, who Gascon said both have ties to a racist skinhead group, surrounded victim Alex Cauich and began to assault him, knocking him to the ground, punching him and kicking him in the face until he passed out.

When Alex's cousin Jose Omar Cauich came to his defense, he was assaulted as well, according to the district attorney's office.    

During the attack, witnesses reported hearing the men yelling "white power," and "run like you run across the border," prosecutors said. A laptop found in Allen's apartment had Nazi and Hitler imagery on the background of the screen.

A third man charged in the case, 33-year-old Anthony Weston, accepted a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to assault charges and the hate crime allegation in exchange for a sentence of probation, having already served nearly a year in jail, prosecutor Victor Hwang said.

The plea deal required Weston to testify against Allen and Meskan during the trial and describe to prosecutors the network of skinhead groups in San Francisco.

Gascon said his investigators have discovered that there are three active white supremacy groups in the city, with some concentrated in the Tenderloin area where the beating occurred.

Gascon and Hwang, who prosecuted the case, said at a news conference at the Hall of Justice Thursday that they were disappointed that the hate crime enhancement was rejected by the jury.    

He said jurors felt that the fight was not necessarily started for hate crime reasons, but may have become racially motivated based on the length and severity of the attack.

The case is an example of an "anti-immigrant environment that is spreading throughout the country," Gascon said.

Small Plane Crash In Marin County

A pilot whose small plane crashed Thursday afternoon in Marin County walked away unharmed, according to San Rafael Fire Department and Federal Aviation Administration representatives.

The plane went down near the San Rafael Airport at about 4 p.m., San Rafael Fire Chief Chris Gray said, and San Rafael fire and rescue units found the plane in a marshy area near McInnis Park Golf Center.    

Gray said it appeared that the plane did not hit any structures and a preliminary investigation indicates that the plane's engine apparently malfunctioned shortly after takeoff. Firefighters who assessed the plane found it mostly intact, he said.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the single-engine experimental Air Camper crashed under unknown circumstances and that the pilot was uninjured.

The pilot was the only person aboard the plane, and his condition was assessed by paramedics at the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board plan to investigate the crash.

Federal Appeals Court Upheld Silicon Valley Chief Executive Conviction

A federal appeals court upheld a former Silicon Valley chief executive's conviction in a stock options backdating case in San Francisco Thursday.

Gregory Reyes, 49, of Saratoga, a former part-owner of the San Jose Sharks, was chief executive officer of San Jose-based Brocade Communications Inc., a data storage networking company, from 1998 to 2005.    

He was convicted in federal court in San Francisco last year of nine counts of securities fraud, submitting false filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, falsifying company records and making false statements to accountants between 2000 and 2004.

The offenses were committed in connection with Reyes' grants of backdated stock options to employees. Backdating is the practice of allowing employees to buy company stock retroactively at a lower price.    

Backdating is not illegal in itself, but it is a crime to fail to disclose it as an expense in company records and SEC filings.

Reyes was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to 18 months in prison. He is currently serving the sentence and is scheduled to be released on Dec. 29, according to federal prison records.    

The conviction was upheld Thursday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected Reyes' appeal claims of prosecutor misconduct, insufficient evidence and instructional errors.    

Last year's trial was Reyes' second. He was found guilty of a total of 10 charges in an earlier trial in Breyer's court in 2007, but that conviction was overturned by the 9th Circuit.

The earlier trial was the first in the nation to be held in connection with a nationwide probe of stock options backdating by the U.S. Justice Department and the SEC.

In August, Reyes agreed to settle a related civil lawsuit by the SEC by paying a $550,000 fine plus $295,000 in relinquishment of profits and interest.

Occupy Wall Street Movement Has Spread To The Bay Area

The now nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement that has sprung up throughout the Bay Area in recent weeks kicked off in Richmond Thursday afternoon, with the support of city leaders and police.

About six dozen people gathered in Downtown Richmond late Thursday afternoon to take part in a peaceful, Occupy Wall Street-inspired demonstration, holding signs, chanting and sharing personal stories about the effect corporate America has had on their lives.

Occupy Richmond organizer Bryan Drayton, owner of nonprofit bicycle organization Richmond Spokes, said Thursday's rally in downtown Richmond -- which could last through Saturday if attendees decide to camp out -- is meant to give Richmond residents a platform to vent their frustrations and discuss constructive plans for the community.

From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, about a dozen local residents, including self-described activists and one city council member, took turns at the microphone to voice their grievances against corporate America and the effect it has had on their lives -- from facing foreclosure and mountains of student loan debt to unemployment.

Many of those who spoke at Thursday's event targeted Chevron, whose corporate offices are located in Richmond.

Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles also addressed the crowd of demonstrators Thursday afternoon, and said she was proud of the local event and hopes for an even larger turnout at any future Occupy Richmond rallies.

Drayton said that he and several other local residents decided to plan the event at the last minute while attending an Occupy Oakland event earlier this week.

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin also voiced her support for the rally Thursday and for the entire Occupy Wall Street movement.

Four Men Charged With Santa Rosa Man's Murder

Four men were charged Thursday afternoon with the murder of a Santa Rosa man during an alleged marijuana deal in Sonoma County last week.    

The defendants did not enter a plea in Sonoma County Superior Court Thursday afternoon and will appear in court again Oct. 20.

The complaint by the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office charges all four men with robbery, conspiracy and the murder of 33-year-old Jose Manuel DeJesus of Santa Rosa.

DeJesus was shot once in the head in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Carniceria Contreras butcher store at 1401 Todd Road south of Santa Rosa on Oct. 6. 

The murder occurred during a drug deal in which DeJesus was selling marijuana, Sonoma County sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said.

Fernando Lopez Castillo, 25, who was arrested at a motel in Hayward Wednesday night, is charged with intentionally discharging a firearm, indicating he shot DeJesus. The weapon allegation carries a 25-years-to-life prison term.

All four defendants also are charged with an enhancement alleging the murder happened during a marijuana robbery, which makes them eligible for the death penalty.

The other defendants are Juan Ramon Lopez-Castillo, 28, of Sonoma County, Alberto Lopez-Barraza 33, of Mexico, and Jose Carraballo Mejia, 54, of Santa Rosa.

Boy Arrested In Bayview District For 5-Year-Old Girl's Shooting Injury

A 16-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday in connection with a shooting last month that injured a 5-year-old girl in San Francisco's Bayview District, police said Thursday.

The girl was walking home with her father on Third Street near Palou Avenue at around 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 when the father heard gunshots, then saw his daughter had been shot in her left knee, according to police.    

Police believe the girl, who was hospitalized but survived the shooting, was caught in the crossfire between two suspects firing at each other.

Through investigative leads, video surveillance and tips from community members in recent weeks, investigators were able to identify the 16-year-old, whose name is not being released, as one of the two shooters.    

At about 4 p.m. Wednesday, officers spotted suspicious activity in the area of Kirkwood Avenue and Mendell Street, a known gang hangout, police said.

A suspect made eye contact with the officers and started running away, as did several other people in the area.

One of the fleeing suspects removed a gun from his waistband. He was detained and the discarded gun was recovered, police said.

An officer recognized one of the other people who ran away as the teen who was wanted for the shooting and detained him.

The teen was subsequently booked into the Juvenile Justice Center on suspicion of assault and weapons charges, with an enhancement for injuring a victim 5 years old or younger, police said.    

Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak said investigators are still seeking the second suspect in the shooting but do not have any information about him.

Man Accused Of Murdering A Mother Appears In Court In San Mateo

A man accused of murdering a teenage mother in front of her 2-year-old daughter more than 15 years ago appeared in a San Mateo County courtroom Thursday.

Jose Luis Arreola Cruz, 39, is believed to be the murderer of his former girlfriend, 19-year-old Gabriella Tello, who was found stabbed to death inside her East Palo Alto home at 2356 Ralmar Ave. on the evening of May 21, 1995, according to the San Mateo County district attorney's office.

At a preliminary hearing Thursday, Cruz entered the courtroom shackled and staring at the ground. He used a Spanish interpreter to follow the proceedings.

Sheriff's Deputy Saul Lopez testified that Cruz and Tello had lived together and had a daughter, 2-year-old Stephanie, who was at home when her mother was killed.

Prior to her murder, Tello broke up with Cruz and moved in with a new boyfriend, Lopez said.

According to Lopez's testimony, Cruz showed up uninvited to a first communion party in Menlo Park for Tello's two younger sisters. Tello left the party after she was seen arguing with Cruz, and the defendant, who witnesses said was drunk, allegedly followed her.

Tello's body was discovered on the living room floor of her house later that evening by her sister Monica, Lopez said. She had been stabbed multiple times with a kitchen knife.

Cruz disappeared shortly after the murder, and was believed to have fled to Mexico.

He was arrested in March by federal agents as he was trying to reenter the U.S. from Mexico near Laredo, Texas, according to the district attorney's office.

He has denied ever being in the victim's house, Lopez said.    

Judge Barbara Mallach Thursday ruled that there is enough evidence for Cruz to be tried for murder.

He will reappear in court to be arraigned on Nov. 1.

Vacaville Police Arrest Four On Suspicion Of Stealing Medical Marijuana Plants

Vacaville police arrested four people Thursday morning on suspicion of stealing medical marijuana plants from a patient authorized to grow and use the pot, a police sergeant said.

Police went to the 500 block of Camellia Way around 2:52 a.m. in response to a report about someone screaming and a vehicle's tires squealing, Sgt. Steve Carey said.

The medical marijuana patient said several plants were taken from his backyard and he showed proof he was authorized to grow and use the marijuana, Carey said.

Police then went to the Motel 6 on Lawrence Drive after someone found a large amount of marijuana near the pool, Carey said. Officers found marijuana leaves on the ground near the trunk of a vehicle registered to 19-year-old Brianna Crossman of Vacaville, Carey said.

Officers followed the trail of marijuana leaves and found two freshly-cut marijuana plants left near the pool by someone staying in one of the motel rooms, Carey said.

The trail led to Room 222 rented by Crossman, Carey said. Through the open door, officers saw several freshly-cut marijuana plants on the bed in the room and contacted four suspects, Carey said.

The marijuana patient was taken to the motel and identified the plants as his through the strings and ribbons he used during the growing process, Carey said.

Officers also found an unloaded handgun in the bathroom garbage can, Carey said.

Police arrested Shawn White, 19, and Darius Anderson, 20, both of Vacaville, Crossman and Treshawn Rogers, 18, of Sacramento for possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, conspiracy to commit theft, and for parole or probation violations, Carey said.    

All four were booked into the Solano County jail.

Man Arrested For Stealing Woman's iPhone  After Bragging About Crime On Municipal Railway

A man was arrested Wednesday for stealing a woman's iPhone after a passenger on a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus overheard him bragging about the robbery.

The robbery occurred at 9:12 p.m. at a store in the 3200 block of 20th Ave. in the Stonestown Galleria.

A 24-year-old woman had her iPhone snatched out of her hand by a suspect who then ran out of the store along with another suspect, according to police at the department's Taraval Station.

Shortly afterward, a passenger on a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus overheard the suspect bragging to a group of people on the bus about a robbery he had committed, police said.

The passenger called police, who responded and stopped the bus and detained five people.

Officers brought the victim to the scene and she was able to identify one of the men as the robber, and when officers searched him, they found the iPhone, according to police.

The man, whose name was not immediately available, was arrested on suspicion of robbery while the other four people detained on the bus were released, police said.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

It is expected to be sunny in the Bay Area today. Highs are likely to be in the 60s to upper 70s.

Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be in the upper 50s.

Partly cloudy skies are expected Saturday. Highs in the 60s to lower 70s are expected.

 

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Pair Convicted Of Tenderloin Attack; Just Rejects Hate Crime Enhancements

Two men were convicted last week of beating up two Mexican nationals in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood in November, but although prosecutors said the attack was racially motivated, the jury rejected hate crime enhancements to the charges.

Robert Allen, 39, and Justin Meskan, 29, were found guilty in San Francisco Superior Court on Friday of assault and battery charges stemming from the Nov. 9 beating of two Hispanic men outside a bar near the corner of Hyde and O'Farrell streets, prosecutors said.

Allen and Meskan were part of a group accused of yelling "white power" and making racist comments while attacking the men. The group assaulted one victim from behind, knocking him to the ground and punching him and kicking him in the face until he blacked out.

A third man, 33-year-old Anthony Weston, accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to assault charges and the hate crime allegation in exchange for a sentence of probation, having already served nearly a year in jail, district attorney's office spokesman Omid Talai said.

The plea deal required him to testify against Allen and Meskan during the trial.

After two days of deliberation, the jury declined to find Allen and Meskan guilty of the same allegation despite Weston pleading guilty to the hate crime enhancement.

Allen and Meskan returned to court this morning for a hearing in which a judge found true that both men had prior convictions, which will add to the potential length of their sentences.

Outside of court today, Assistant District Attorney Victor Hwang, who prosecuted the case, said that after the verdict was announced he talked to jurors, some of whom said they believed someone had yelled "white power" but weren't sure who had said it.

Hwang said the jury's instructions that the crime had to be caused by hate led to their rejection of the enhancement.

He said jurors felt that the fight was not necessarily started for hate crime reasons, but may have become racially motivated due to the length and severity of the attack.

"I don't believe that to be the case," Hwang said.

Meskan faces a state prison term of up to 8 and a half years when he is sentenced on Nov. 9, while Allen faces up to 9 and a half years when he is sentenced on Nov. 16.

District Attorney George Gascon is holding a 1 p.m. news conference today to discuss the case, which he publicized at an earlier news conference in March.

 

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Burglars Break Into Medical Marijuana Dispensary While Employee Sleeps

A laptop was stolen early this morning in a break-in at a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco's Bayview District where an employee was sleeping, a police spokesman said.

The burglary was reported at about 1:30 a.m. in the 4000 block of Third Street.

A 27-year-old employee at the facility was sleeping when he awoke to a loud noise, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The employee called 911 and then saw on the building's surveillance camera that two suspects had gotten inside, according to police.

Officers responded and discovered that a laptop had been stolen.

They did a sweep of the building because the employee was unsure if the burglars were still inside, but no one was found, Esparza said.

The two male suspects had not been found as of this morning, he said.

Anyone with information about the burglary 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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Debris Fire Briefly Disrupts Caltrain Service

San Francisco firefighters doused a trash fire that broke out this morning beneath Interstate Highway 280 in the city's Mission Bay neighborhood, a fire dispatcher said.

The debris fire was reported at 9:39 a.m. near Seventh and 16th streets. Cars can travel under the freeway at that intersection, which is also a Caltrain crossing.

Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said trains were stopped for a few minutes but are now operating at reduced speeds through the area.

The fire dispatcher said at 10 a.m. that the fire had been controlled.

 

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Police Hosting Hate Crime Symposium At LGBT Center Tonight

San Francisco police are hosting a hate crime symposium tonight at the city's LGBT Center to discuss with community members how police and prosecutors handle such cases and what services are available to victims.

The symposium is taking place during National Coming Out Week and comes a day after the 13th anniversary of the killing of Matthew Shepard, whose murder in Wyoming because of his sexual orientation was a catalyst for the passage of federal hate crime legislation in 2009.

Tonight's symposium will feature prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office and San Francisco District Attorney's Office, as well as law enforcement officials from the FBI and San Francisco Police Department.

A question-and-answer period will follow talks by the various invited speakers.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Rainbow Room on the second floor of the LGBT Community Center at 1800 Market St.

 

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Man Shot In Thigh In Mission District Wednesday Night

A man was shot in the thigh in San Francisco's Mission District on Wednesday night, police said.

The shooting was reported at about 9:20 p.m. at 16th and Mission streets.

The 31-year-old victim was crossing the street and heard gunshots, then realized he had been shot, according to police.

The victim, who did not see the person who shot him, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are not life-threatening.

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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New Signs Ask Visitors To Help Take Care Of Dolores Park

Visitors to San Francisco's Dolores Park will notice new signs asking them to take care of the park's grassy hillsides, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department officials said.

The signs were installed Wednesday at the park, located at Dolores at 18th streets. They serve as friendly reminders for the public on how to better care for the park, city officials said.

Some signs list the park's rules, including that smoking, littering, camping and alcohol in glass bottles are prohibited. Others include reminders about cleaning up dog waste.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Thursday News Roundup

Occupy Wall Street Has A Walnut Creek Spinoff

Occupy Wall Street made its way to Walnut Creek Wednesday afternoon, when about 300 people rallied in solidarity with the now nation-wide movement.

From 4 p.m. until around 6:30 p.m., protestors from Walnut Creek and surrounding towns lined the sidewalk at the intersection of Main Street and Mount Diablo Boulevard, standing in front of a Bank of America branch, a Tiffany and Co. store and a handful of upscale eateries.

Local residents of all ages and from various political groups, labor unions and student organizations turned out at the peaceful demonstration, many bearing signs and American flags and wearing nametags that read "99%".

About half a dozen police officers stood along the sidewalks monitoring the event, but as of 6 p.m., police said there had not been any arrests or confrontations with demonstrators.

"Occupy Walnut Creek" organizers said word of the event spread quickly over the past week via email, Facebook and phone calls.

Organizer Ken Richard admitted he was surprised by the large turnout Wednesday afternoon, and now hopes even more people will attend next Wednesday's "Occupy Walnut Creek" rally, set for the same time and location.

Richard added that although Walnut Creek is largely seen as an upper-middle-class city, locals are "compassionate and care about America's unemployed, underemployed, and (those) living in poverty."

Standing on the sidewalk nearby, 82-year-old Bobbe Huetter of Walnut Creek said she decided to join the rally Wednesday after hearing about it on the radio.

Dozens of other protesters Wednesday drove in from neighboring Contra Costa County towns.

Regardless of their hometowns, several attendees shared common stories about the effect the Great Recession has had on their lives.

Former Tenderloin Housing Clinic Director Of Property Management Arrested For Embezzlement

The former director of property management for the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in San Francisco was arrested last Thursday for allegedly embezzling more than $29,000 from the nonprofit, police said Wednesday.

James Holland, 41, allegedly collected rental checks from tenants at the housing clinic and deposited them into his personal bank account, according to police.

Holland also allegedly placed an ad on Craigslist and moved a new tenant into a unit without notifying other THC officials, then set up a P.O. Box to collect a total of $18,000 in rent money paid for the unit, police said.

Investigators seeking Holland went last November to Dallas, where he had been receiving mail, but could not find him.

After receiving a tip about Holland's whereabouts, which were back in San Francisco, officers responded and arrested him in the 1200 block of Sunnydale Avenue, police said.

Holland has been charged with grand theft, embezzlement and 19 counts of forgery and remains in jail, according to police.

San Jose Funeral Held For Cupertino Cement Plant Shooting Victim

Nearly 500 people gathered at the Oak Hill Funeral Home in San Jose Wednesday to pay their final respects to Manuel Pinon, one of three people gunned down at a Cupertino cement plant last week.

Pinon, 48, of Newman, died on Oct. 5 at the hands of his co-worker Shareef Allman, 49, during a meeting at the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant at 24001 Stevens Creek Blvd. Also killed were John Robert Vallejos, 51, and Mark Munoz, 59, both of San Jose.

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 plant. He shot nine people, killing three before fleeing and shooting a woman during an attempted carjacking hours later in a Hewlett-Packard company parking lot.

A massive manhunt for Allman ensued, during which he was found the following morning crouched behind a car parked on Lorne Way in Sunnyvale. He died during a confrontation with deputies.

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

Wednesday, Pinon's friends and family wore red ribbons adorned with a smiling photo of Pinon. Those who knew him said his smile was one of his best qualities and photo displays of Pinon as a child and as an adult reflected their comments.

"That big smile and that beautiful heart he had, that's all he needs," said Anthony Castro, a friend of Pinon's who said he considered him as a brother. "I know one day I'm going to see him again."    

Family members described Pinon as a "quiet and reserved" man who had a love of old cars and was a devoted San Francisco 49ers fan. They said he "adored his grandparents," with whom he lived in San Jose during the week, and that he had a strong work ethic.

Pinon leaves behind Melina Pinon, his wife of 27 years, and five children - Jennifer, Salina, Serena, Eric, and Aaron, and grandchildren.

Long after the end of the funeral service, people stood outside the chapel talking quietly about the tragic circumstances of Pinon's death.

Concord Police Search For Stabbing Suspect

Police in Concord are combing a neighborhood near the Loma Vista Adult Education Center for a suspect in the stabbing of a 19-year-old Bay Point man Wednesday morning.

At around 10:40 a.m., police responded to an attack at the center at 1266 San Carlos Ave. in which the victim, a student, suffered several cuts and stab wounds to his upper body, police said.

He was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek where he underwent surgery, Lt. Steve Dyer said.    

Dyer said that interviews with the victim and several witnesses revealed that the stabbing occurred during a physical fight sparked by "hard looks" between the victim and suspect, who is described as a Hispanic man about 18 or 19 years old with short hair and an average build.

The suspect was seen fleeing the campus in a green Honda sedan and was said to be wearing dark pants and a gray, hooded sweatshirt.

El Cerrito Police Department Held Neighborhood Safety Meeting

The El Cerrito Police Department was holding a neighborhood meeting Wednesday night to provide residents with safety tips and information about a series of home burglaries in recent weeks.

Police said most of the burglaries have occurred in El Cerrito's hilly, residential neighborhoods and have involved burglars breaking into homes during daylight hours.

Only a few witnesses have provided leads in the string of burglaries, describing the possible suspects as two to three young, black males with slim builds, police said.

Police said they would provide an update on the recent crime trend during the meeting, in addition to tips on how to prevent future burglaries.

Police are advising El Cerrito residents to secure windows and doors, install burglar alarms and to acquaint themselves with neighbors and their vehicles.

Bay Point Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Impersonating Officer

A Bay Point man was arrested on suspicion of impersonating an officer after a police uniform and other items were found in his car during a traffic stop early Wednesday morning, a Contra Costa County sheriff's spokesman said.

John Glaves, 36, was arrested at around 5 a.m. Wednesday on westbound state Highway 4 near Willow Pass road in Bay Point after a sheriff's deputy stopped him for speeding.

Upon learning that the man had an outstanding warrant for burglary, the deputy began searching the car and found a police uniform, a fake plastic police badge and a homemade red light for the top of his vehicle, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

Lee said investigators believe Glaves was wearing a police shirt that he removed before being stopped Wednesday morning.

Glaves was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on suspicion of impersonating a peace officer, drug possession and receiving stolen property. He is being held without bail.

The sheriff's office is investigating where Glaves obtained the police uniform and how he has used it.

Man Dies After Struggle With San Leandro Police

A man who died after a struggle with San Leandro police in which he was stunned with a Taser has been identified by the Alameda County coroner's bureau as 32-year-old Darnell Hutchinson.

Hutchinson, an Oakland resident, died after an incident at Nations Giant Hamburgers at 1335 Washington Ave., where officers responded to a report of a suspicious person.

Nations employees reported that a man there, later identified as Hutchinson, was scaring customers by "acting strange" and was asked to leave several times but refused, police said.

Officers arrived and found Hutchinson outside the restaurant, where he refused to cooperate with the officers and a struggle ensued, according to police.

One of the officers used a Taser to try to subdue Hutchinson but it was ineffective, police said.

The struggle continued, with the two officers and Hutchinson falling to the ground at one point. Two other officers then arrived and were ultimately able to control and handcuff him, according to police.

Immediately after being handcuffed, Hutchinson's health began to deteriorate. Paramedics responded and took him to a hospital where he died, police said.

The cause of his death has not been determined, with toxicology and autopsy reports from the coroner's bureau still pending, according to police.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

It is expected to be sunny in the Bay Area today. Highs are likely to be in the upper 60s to lower 80s.

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

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

 

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Update: 11 Protestors Arrested, Hundred More Continue Protesting Outside Wells Fargo Headquarters

Police have arrested 11 protesters outside Wells Fargo's corporate headquarters in downtown San Francisco this morning, but have no plans to arrest more as the demonstration continues, a police lieutenant said.

Dozens of demonstrators are sitting down in front of the building, located at 420 Montgomery St. between Sacramento and California streets, and blocking its doors while hundreds of others are standing by or marching around the block.

San Francisco police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said 11 people were arrested on Liedesdorff Street, a small street that runs behind the Wells Fargo building.

Dangerfield said that as long as protesters comply with police requests they will not be arrested, and that protesters would be given orders to disperse before any arrests are made.

"They are keeping the sidewalk open for people to walk," Dangerfield said. He said that because the protest has not disrupted sidewalk or street traffic, police have not had to make any requests of protesters since the earlier arrests.

As of 10:30 a.m., protesters were continuing to block the doors on two sides of the building. A garage entrance on Sacramento Street was also blocked until around 10 a.m., when protesters moved on their own to join larger groups around the corner.

About 200 protesters gathered at Market and Drumm streets at 7 a.m. for the anti-Wall Street rally and march to highlight a number of issues including foreclosures and unemployment. The group is made up of people of all ages, including some parents who brought their children.

Some demonstrators held signs reading "Foreclose Wall Street," "Stop the corporate greed," and "We are the 99 percent."

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos, who is running for mayor, was among them and addressed the crowd.

"I welcome your fight and I join you in the effort," he said.

They began marching shortly after 7:30 a.m. and headed to the Wells Fargo building.

Kathy Burick, a dance and yoga teacher at San Francisco City College, attended the protests to represent the American Federation of Teachers Local 2121.

"We're suffering so many cuts from this budget crisis that was manufactured on Wall Street," Burick said. She said that continuing budget cuts to education have resulted in the loss of thousands of students since she began teaching at the college 32 years ago.

"We lose the people who need the school the most," she said.

SEIU 1021 member Al Haggett said he is also there with his union and as part of his work organizing and working with retirees in the Bay Area.

"It's nothing but greed," he said of the people "on the top" that run the financial institutions like Wells Fargo.

"I've been working on this campaign for two months," Haggett said, and estimated that he has seen a 300 percent increase in people participating in such demonstrations in that time.

"People are getting the word out," Haggett said.

The march is organized by a number of groups including Causa Justa Just Cause, Unite Here Local 2850, the California Partnership, Young Workers United and the Chinese Progressive Association.

The groups stated in a press release that they want banks to pay their fair share of taxes and be held accountable for their role in causing the economic crisis.

They say they are rallying in solidarity with the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, which has sparked protests across the country.

In San Francisco's version, "Occupy SF," protesters have been camping out in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco at Market and Spear streets.

As the crowd gathered for the march this morning, dozens of "Occupy SF" protesters remained in their sleeping bags on the sidewalk, some of them still asleep.

 

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Man Shot In 2001 Succumbs To Injuries 10 Years Later

A man who was shot in San Francisco's Bayview District 10 years ago succumbed to his injuries last month, and the Police Department's homicide unit is investigating, a police sergeant said.

Ronnie Tiger, 30, passed away on Sept. 24 from injuries he suffered when a man shot him in the 4900 block of Third Street on April 16, 2001, at around 7 p.m., police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said.

Tiger was shot by a man wearing a ski mask who drove away from the scene in a burgundy-colored van that contained as many as three other suspects, Andraychak said.

The San Francisco medical examiner's office found that Tiger's death was caused by complications from the gunshot wounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call the department's tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411.

 

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Hundreds Gather For Anti-Wall Street March To Protest Foreclosures, Unemployment

About 200 protesters have gathered on Market Street in San Francisco's Financial District this morning for an anti-Wall Street rally and march to highlight a number of issues including foreclosures and unemployment.

The group gathered at Market and Drumm streets at 7 a.m. Some protesters held signs reading "Foreclose Wall Street," "Stop the corporate greed," and "We are the 99 percent."

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos, who is running for mayor, was among them and addressed the crowd.

"I welcome your fight and I join you in the effort," he said.

They began marching shortly after 7:30 a.m.

The march is organized by a number of groups including Causa Justa Just Cause, Unite Here Local 2850, the California Partnership, Young Workers United and the Chinese Progressive Association.

The groups stated in a press release that they want banks to pay their fair share of taxes and be held accountable for their role in causing the economic crisis.

They say they are rallying in solidarity with the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, which has sparked protests across the country.

In San Francisco's version, "Occupy SF," protesters have been camping out in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco at Market and Spear streets.

As the crowd gathered for the march this morning, dozens of "Occupy SF" protesters remained in their sleeping bags on the sidewalk, some of them still asleep.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday News Roundup

Oakland Police Chief Announces Resignation

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts, citing scarce resources and "a lot of bureaucracy in the city of Oakland," announced Tuesday he is resigning next month after two years on the job.

"No chief wants to be in a position where he or she has been held accountable but does not have the power to make a dramatic impact," Batts said at a news conference with Mayor Jean Quan and City Manager Deanna Santana.    

Batts, 51, was selected by former Mayor Ron Dellums in 2009 after having served for seven years as police chief in Long Beach.

He said he is considering taking a research and part-time teaching position at Harvard University.

Batts said in a letter to Oakland residents that he is resigning with "great regret" but said that during the past two years, "I found myself with limited control, but full accountability."

The chief said at the news conference that he wasn't leaving because of any one issue, but rather because of "a layering of different things," including the bureaucracy in the city's structure.

Santana said she and Batts are in the process of settling on a date for his departure in early or mid-November. She said she will announce plans for transitional leadership of the police at a later time.

The conditions under which Batts is leaving include recent layoffs of about 150 officers because of budget problems and a U.S. judge's warning that he may need to put the department under federal control because of delays in carrying out a civil rights lawsuit settlement.

Quan said in a brief statement at the news conference that she understood that "things were not what (Batts) thought it was going to be."    

She said she appreciated that Batts made the decision now so that the city could get an interim chief in place to work on the civil rights settlement and a safety summit in the next several months.

Bryan Stow's Condition Improves Enough To Be Moved To Rehabilitation Facility

Five months after beaten San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was admitted to San Francisco General Hospital, the hospital's chief of neurosurgery announced Tuesday that Stow's condition has improved, allowing him to be moved to a rehabilitation facility.

Stow was transferred to the unnamed facility Tuesday morning.    

"It has really been a roller coaster with Bryan," Dr. Geoff Manley said at a news conference at the hospital Tuesday afternoon. "He's making dramatic progress."

Stow arrived at San Francisco General Hospital on May 16 from a hospital in Los Angeles where he had been treated following his March 31 beating outside Dodger Stadium after the season opener between the Dodgers and the Giants.

When Stow arrived at San Francisco General Hospital he was brought in comatose on a gurney and was on five anti-seizure medications. Although for months doctors encountered setbacks in Stow's treatment, he began to make significant improvements in the past month, and recently began speaking in sentence fragments and following simple commands.

Manley said Stow has begun to "mobilize," meaning that he is beginning to move but can't yet walk on his own.    

Manley said all of Stow's medications have been reduced significantly but he remains on some "maintenance" medications typically given to traumatic brain injury patients.

The Stow family has requested that the name of the rehabilitation facility not be released Tuesday to allow them and Stow to settle in and begin working with the rehabilitation team.

Manley said that even though Stow is no longer under the care of his neurosurgery team, he plans to keep in touch with the Giants fan and his family.

"Recovery just doesn't stop at six months," he said.

Man Responsible For Shooting Rampage Dies Of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office announced Tuesday that Shareef Allman, the man responsible for the deadly shooting rampage at a Cupertino cement plant last week, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Santa Clara County sheriff's office initially reported that three deputies had shot and killed Allman, a 49-year-old disgruntled truck driver who shot nine people at the plant, killing three.

Allman died in a Sunnyvale neighborhood during a confrontation with deputies during a massive manhunt.

Capt. Kevin Jensen, an administrative coroner at the medical examiner's office, said Allman had other wounds but that the lethal wound was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

At about 4:15 a.m. last Wednesday, Allman opened fire on about 15 of his fellow employees at a meeting at the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant at 24001 Stevens Creek Blvd.

Killed were John Robert Vallejos, 51, and Mark Munoz, 59, both of San Jose, and Manuel Guadalupe Pinon, 48, of Newman.

Allman fled the plant and carjacked a woman at gunpoint shortly before 7 a.m. in a Hewlett-Packard company parking lot. When the woman refused to turn over her car, he shot her once and fled. She suffered injuries that were not believed to be life threatening.

A manhunt ensued, during which Allman was found the following morning crouched behind a car parked on Lorne Way in Sunnyvale.

Three deputies approached Allman and attempted to confront him, but when they saw that he had a handgun, all three deputies fired at him, Sheriff Laurie Smith said.

Early Voting Begins For November 8 Election

Early voting started Tuesday for San Francisco's Nov. 8 election and many candidates took advantage, filling out their ballots at City Hall.

Tuesday was also when vote-by-mail ballots are starting to be sent, and was the deadline for when the Department of Elections was required to have sent voter information pamphlets to all registered voters.    

San Francisco voters have a lot of information to wade through, particularly in the mayor's race where there are 16 candidates on the ballot and they are allowed to choose up to three candidates.

Along with picking a mayor and district attorney, voters will also be choosing a new sheriff after Mike Hennessey announced earlier this year that he was retiring after 31 years in the post.

Also on the ballot are several propositions, including two dueling measures -- Propositions C and D -- that propose differing ways to reform the pension benefits for city workers. Voters will also decide the fate of proposed bonds to provide funding for schools and to repair and upgrade city streets.

Hundreds Of Protestors Lead Peaceful Occupy San Francisco And Occupy Oakland Demonstrations

As hundreds of protesters continued peaceful demonstrations in San Francisco and Oakland, dozens of people -- including some dressed as oil barrels -- attended a smaller protest at Chevron headquarters in San Ramon Tuesday.

About 50 people -- most from local chapters of liberal nonprofit organization MoveOn -- rallied in front of Chevron's corporate offices Tuesday afternoon, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement to protest government underwriting of major oil companies, TriValley MoveOn organizer Karen Beck said.

"We got a lot of support today -- a lot of truck drivers came by and gave us a honk -- I think we felt very energized because we had that support," she said. "Our message is basically the same as (Occupy Wall Street) -- corporations have too much power and influence the government too much, and it hurts the rest of us," she said.

Ellis Goldberg, also a TriValley MoveOn organizer, said the event kicked off a week full of demonstrations in and around Contra Costa County.    

Today at 4 p.m., a group dubbing itself "Occupy Walnut Creek" is set to protest at Mount Diablo Boulevard and Main Street in front of Bank of America in downtown Walnut Creek. TriValley MoveOn members also plan to hold a second demonstration at Chevron's headquarters.

Occupy Walnut Creek organizer Ken Richard said he expects at least 50 people to attend tomorrow's rally, and is already helping to plan a second demonstration there next Wednesday.

"The media is covering these protests in San Francisco and San Jose...but it hasn't hit the 'burbs yet," he said. "We are protesting the collusion of government and big business -- it's just got to stop."

Bomb Threat At North Fair Oaks Elementary School

A bomb threat prompted the evacuation of an elementary school in the San Mateo County community of North Fair Oaks Tuesday, the sheriff's office reported.

At about 11:05 a.m., the principal of Fair Oaks Elementary School called 911 to report that a man had approached a school security guard and said there was a bomb on campus, which is located at 2950 Fair Oaks Ave., the sheriff's office said.

The suspect, who walked away south on Fair Oaks Boulevard, did not say anything about where the bomb might have been hidden.

Sheriff's deputies and school staff evacuated students to a safe area on the campus perimeter.

A San Mateo County sheriff's bomb squad responded and searched the campus. Deputies did not find any suspicious items or any potentially explosive device.

The suspect was described as a "chubby" Hispanic man between 20 and 25 years old, around 5 feet 11 inches tall. He had a shaved head and dark goatee, and was seen wearing a blue shirt, khaki shorts, white socks and dark athletic shoes.

A dark-colored four-door sedan, possibly a Nissan, was seen leaving the area shortly after the threat was made, but it is not known if the vehicle was connected to the suspect.

All of the students were accounted for, according to the sheriff's office. Some were picked up by their parents and others returned to class after the campus was searched.

Infant Involved In Hit-And-Run Crash

An infant was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after a hit-and-run crash in Concord Tuesday afternoon that flipped one car over.    

A 27-year-old Concord man with an 11-month-old child in a safety seat was driving northbound on Bailey Road near Sunny Place when the car was struck head on by a vehicle traveling northbound, police said.    

Police said the suspect vehicle crossed over the center line and hit the victims' car, causing it to roll over.

Lt. Darrell Graham said both the driver and passenger suffered only minor injuries, and the infant was taken to a nearby hospital mainly as a precaution.

Police described the suspect's car as a gray or silver, 1980s-model, compact Toyota sedan with front-end damage.

San Francisco Department Of Elections Sends Wrong Polling Place Address To A Quarter Of The City

A printing error caused the San Francisco Department of Elections to send out the wrong polling place address on roughly a quarter of the city's voter information pamphlets for the November election, the department's director said Tuesday.

About 115,000 pamphlets sent out to voters have a single polling place near City College of San Francisco -- 31 Howth St. -- as the location they should go to vote on Nov. 8.

San Francisco had 461,983 registered voters as of Oct. 1, but only voters who live in the area of Geneva Avenue and Howth Street should vote at that polling place on Election Day.

That means the department will have to send three correction notices to each of the residents who received the faulty information, director John Arntz said.

Tuesday was the deadline for when the Department of Elections had to send out the voter information pamphlets.

Arntz said the department discovered the problem on Friday night and were able to stop an additional 18,000 pamphlets that had the wrong polling place address from being sent out.

The error was apparently caused by ProVote Solutions, the city's vendor who printed the ballots.

The city is consolidating precincts for the election, and "when the vendor went to print the polling place, for some reason the information it drew was the same polling place" of 31 Howth St., Arntz said.    

The website for ProVote Solutions, based in Porterville in the Central Valley, says the company prints election materials for 42 counties in five states and has been certified by California as an election printer for the past six years.

Unionized County Workers Protested Proposed Pay And Benefits Cuts

An estimated 4,000 unionized county workers marched and chanted in protest of proposed county pay and benefit cuts outside of county buildings Tuesday as part of a daylong series of labor protests throughout Contra Costa County.

The union workers are members of the Contra Costa Labor Coalition, which organizers say represents some of the county's lowest-paid employees, from custodians and clerks to engineers and animal care services personnel.    

Union members held rallies during workers' lunch breaks in Pittsburg and Martinez Tuesday, while a series of rallies throughout the day took place at the county employment and human services department in Antioch.

"We're trying to bring some attention to the labor negotiations and send a message to the (Contra Costa County) Board of Supervisors," labor coalition spokesman Rollie Katz said Tuesday, surrounded by about five dozen protestors carrying signs in front of the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez.

He cited a county proposal to cover 100 percent of increased health care costs in the coming years as a key grievance in the coalition's current contract negotiations with the county.

Union officials said that over the last two years, the employees they represent have agreed to steep benefit and pay cuts, while other organized county workers earning higher salaries, such as sheriff's deputies and registered nurses, have not agreed to the same cuts.

Katz said that while the labor coalition is prepared to accept some pay and benefit cuts, union members ask that the county "meets us halfway."

County spokeswoman Betsy Burkhart declined Tuesday to discuss details of ongoing negotiations with the union coalition, but issued a prepared statement saying, "We are still engaging in efforts to reach a fair contract with all of our bargaining units, and will continue to do so. "

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

It is expected to be sunny in the Bay Area today. Highs are likely to be in the 60s to lower 70s.

Clear skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be in the lower 60s.

Sunny skies are expected Thursday. Highs in the 60s to mid 70s are expected.

 

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Activists Occupy Vacant Geary Boulevard Buildings They Say Could House Homeless

Some 30 protesters occupied several vacant properties in San Francisco's Cathedral Hill neighborhood along Geary Boulevard Monday night as part of World Homeless Action Day, organizers said.

The demonstrators, led by the squatters' collective Homes Not Jails, entered the shuttered Cathedral Hill Hotel at 1101 Van Ness Ave. at about 6:40 p.m. Monday, according to Brian Wilkes, a representative for the group.

Activists with Homes Not Jails were joined by OccupySF participants in occupying the 600-unit hotel, which closed in October 2009 to make way for California Pacific Medical Center's new Cathedral Hill Hospital, a $1.7 billion 555-bed acute and women and children's care hospital.

According to Wilkes, people who occupied the building found that most of the rooms remained furnished and in habitable condition.

A call to a CPMC spokesman seeking comment this morning was not immediately returned.

The activists say that enough residential units exist in San Francisco to end homelessness in the city.

Citing 2010 U.S. Census data, Homes Not Jails claims that more than 10,000 people are homeless in San Francisco but that the city has 30,000 vacant housing units.

The group rallied at 5 p.m. at Civic Center before marching to the vacant properties. By 8:15 p.m., activists had occupied three more properties near the hotel: 1020 Geary Blvd., 1028-1030 Geary Blvd. -- a 17-unit apartment building -- and 1034-1036 Geary Blvd., Wilkes said.

Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said police cannot take action to remove the demonstrators unless the building owners ask them to do so.

A property owner would need to sign a citizen's arrest form to give police that authority, Esparza said, adding that the Police Department has been in contact with the owners of the Cathedral Hill Hotel.

"Typically, these protesters that occupy these buildings don't tear them up, and they don't vandalize them," he said.

The demonstrators tend to be peaceful and vacate the buildings on their own after drawing attention to the issue, Esparza said.

"Time is on our side," he said.

World Homeless Action Day is held annually on Oct. 10 to shed led on "homeless people's needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness," according to the World Homeless Day website.

 

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8-Year-Old Boy Recovering After Being Struck By Car In Western Addition

An 8-year-old boy was hospitalized after being struck by a car in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood on Friday afternoon, police said today.

The accident was reported at about 3:45 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Laguna and Turk streets.

The boy was walking north in the crosswalk on Laguna Street on a green light when he was struck by a 2006 Toyota Camry, according to police.

He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which were not considered life-threatening, police said.

The driver of the Camry stopped at the scene and cooperated with police. The accident remains under investigation.

 

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Man Stabbed In Bernal Heights Monday Morning

A man was stabbed in the head in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood on Monday morning, police said.

The stabbing was reported at about 7:10 a.m. when the 32-year-old man walked into San Francisco General Hospital suffering from serious stab wounds to his head, according to police.

Officers went to the hospital and talked to the victim, who said his friend had stabbed him in the 900 block of Ellsworth Street, police said.

The friend, a 38-year-old man whose name was not immediately available, had not been arrested as of this morning, according to police.

Anyone with information about the stabbing 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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Pedestrian Struck By Car In Western Addition

A man was struck by a car in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood this morning, a fire dispatcher said.

The accident was reported at 7:52 a.m. at the intersection of Webster and O'Farrell streets.

The man was taken to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center to be treated for his injuries, according to the dispatcher, who did not know the man's condition.

The driver of the car that struck the man stopped at the scene.

 

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October 14, 2011

October 15, 2011

San Francisco police are looking for a person of interest in the killing of a man found in his apartment Aug. 3. Video surveillance shows a man in a teal jacket and carrying a checkered bag entering the apartment...

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