SF News

Woman Visiting SFSU Dorm Sexually Assaulted

A woman was sexually assaulted at a San Francisco State University dormitory last weekend, according to campus police.

The attack occurred sometime between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday at the university's Towers at Centennial Square, police said.

The victim was visiting with her friends and went into the building to go to a party there. She waited in the lobby while her friends tried to find the resident who was hosting the party, according to police.

While the woman was alone, a suspect approached her and said, "I know where you're going. You can come with me," police said.

She followed the suspect into an elevator, and while the doors to the elevator were closing, she saw that her friends had returned and tried to get out, but the suspect grabbed her from behind and held her as the doors closed, according to police.

The victim, still believing that she was going to a party upstairs, was then led to a room on an unknown floor where the suspect sexually assaulted her, police said.

She was eventually able to escape and reunite with her friends, and reported the attack to campus police.

The suspect is described as a mixed-race man between 18 and 22 years old who is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds.

Anyone with information about the case or the suspect's identity is encouraged to call university police Inspector Abe Leal at (415) 338-7200 or (415) 338-2222.

 

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Memorial To Steve Jobs Grows At Downtown Apple Store

Dozens of sticky notes, note cards and letters adorned the windows of the Apple Store on San Francisco's Stockton Street today in remembrance of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday at the age of 56.

Jobs stepped down as head of the tech company in August but remained chairman of the board until his passing.

On the sidewalk outside the store at 1 Stockton St., roses, candles and stuffed animals were left below the growing collection of notes.

Some notes simply read, "R.I.P. Mr. Jobs," "iSad" or "Thanks."

Others left lengthy thoughts on Jobs' passing, like one note left by "Everybody" that called Jobs "the greatest CEO of all time."

"I believe I speak for all Apple users when I say we lost a part of our family," the note read.

People crowded around the store, snapping pictures of the memorials and leaving their own thoughts behind.

"I remember the first Apple computer my family had," 22-year-old Skye McLennan said. "I feel like I witnessed all of this happen. He really was a huge part of changing the face of technology forever."

Mike Campton, 21, is scheduled to start work at the Apple Store next week. "That wouldn't be possible without Steve Jobs," he said.

"Steve Jobs really impacted my life because I'm such a tech geek and he's the reason why," Campton said.

Victoria Carpenter, 54, an English professor at the Academy of Art University, brought her class to the memorial. "I was surprised by how moved I was," she said. "He's an incredible inventor."

One of her students, George Sum, 20, is a music production major. He said he found out about Jobs' death in class.

"All of the material in our textbooks is all from Apple," Sum said. According to Sum, his teacher was so saddened by news of Jobs' death that he had to take a break from class because he couldn't continue teaching.

Inside the Apple store, business went on as usual as customers tested MacBooks and iMacs, iPads and iPhones. But the image of Jobs' memorial posted to Apple's website lingered on many web browsers.

 

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Man Arrested After Striking Auto Repairman In Face With Hubcap

A man was arrested after allegedly striking an auto mechanic with a hubcap near City College of San Francisco on Tuesday morning, police said.

The attack was reported at about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday at a car repair shop in the 1700 block of Ocean Avenue.

A man took his car into the shop to get a flat tire fixed, and a repairman fixed the tire but did not put the hubcap back on, according to police.

The driver and repairman began arguing and pushing each other, and the driver struck the repairman in the face with the hubcap, police said.

Officers responded and arrested the man on suspicion of aggravated assault.

His name was not immediately available today, nor was information about injuries to the repairman.

 

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Fremont Firm Agrees To Pay $85 Million Fine For Promoting Off-Label Use Of Heart Drug

A Fremont-based subsidiary of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in federal court in San Francisco Wednesday and agreed to pay an $85 million fine for marketing a heart drug for an off-label use.

Scios Inc. pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to one count of misbranding the drug Natrecor

The drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use with patients with acute congestive heart failure who have shortness of breath. It is administered intravenously.

The criminal charge filed by the U.S. Justice Department in July alleged that Scios was improperly marketing the drug for use on a regular basis by heart patients who were not acutely ill. 

Promoting a drug for an unapproved, or off-label, use is known as misbranding.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tony West said, "Putting misbranded drugs into interstate commerce is serious because it undercuts the FDA's role in keeping our medicines safe and effective."

Scios issued a statement saying, "Scios acknowledges that Natrecor was misbranded and used in a way not approved by the FDA because its labeling lacked adequate directions for that use, but denies any wrongful intent in connection with this plea."

The Justice Department said it has a separate civil false claims lawsuit pending in federal court in San Francisco against Scios and Johnson & Johnson.

That lawsuit alleges that the companies' promotion of off-label use of the drug resulted in false claims being submitted to Medicare and other federal healthcare programs.

 

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Update: California Street Cable Car Struck By Minivan

San Francisco Municipal Railway's California Street cable car line resumed service this morning after a minivan struck a cable car in the city's Chinatown neighborhood, a Muni spokesman said.

The crash was reported at 7:51 a.m. at the intersection of California Street and Grant Avenue, spokesman Paul Rose said.

No one was injured in the crash, but cable car service was disrupted while crews removed the cable car and vehicle from the line, Rose said.

Bus shuttles were set up until regular service resumed at 10:11 a.m., Rose said.

The crash came less than half an hour after another disruption on the line that occurred when a cable car operator pulled the car's emergencybrake, Rose said.

The brake was pulled at 7:24 a.m. near California and Leavenworth streets, he said. There was no damage to the cable car and no one was injured, but Muni's procedures stipulate that a car must be taken out of service when its emergency brake is activated, according to Rose.

Muni officials are investigating why the brake was pulled, he said.

 

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Muni's California Street Cable Car Line Temporarily Out Of Service

San Francisco Municipal Railway's California Street cable car line is temporarily out of service this morning, transit officials said.

The cable car line was out of service as of 9:08 a.m. due to an earlier incident, according to an alert posted on Muni's website.

A Muni spokesman was not immediately available to provide more information on the incident or when regular service will resume.

Bus shuttles have been set up along that route. 

 

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Man Dies After Rear-Ending Car Near USF

A man died after his car rear-ended another vehicle near the University of San Francisco early this morning, a police spokesman said.

The crash was reported at 12:33 a.m. at the intersection of Fulton and Stanyan streets.

The 33-year-old victim, whose name has not yet been released, was driving west on Fulton Street when his vehicle smashed into the back of a car that was stopped at a red light at Stanyan Street, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The impact caused the car stopped at the light to overturn, police said.

Both drivers were taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where the first driver died, Esparza said.

The driver of the car that had been rear-ended, a 27-year-old woman, was in stable condition this morning, police said.

The crash remains under investigation, Esparza said.

 

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Man Dies After Being Struck By Car In Chinatown Sunday Morning

A man who was critically injured when he was struck by a car in San Francisco's Chinatown neighborhood on Sunday morning has died, according to the medical examiner's office.

Tai Tuan Huynh, 33, was struck at about 9:35 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of Kearny and Washington streets by a vehicle that was backing up, police said.

Huynh, a San Francisco resident, was apparently crossing the street in the middle of the block, according to police.

He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The driver stopped at the scene and is cooperating with investigators.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Thursday News Roundup

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Identified Fatally Shot Men

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office has identified the three men who were fatally shot at a Cupertino cement plant Wednesday morning, prompting a massive manhunt that continued Wednesday night.

John Robert Vallejos, 51, and Mark Munoz, 59, both of San Jose, and Manuel Guadalupe Pinon, 48, of Newman, died after a man showed up for an early morning meeting at the plant and opened fire on other employees, according to the sheriff's office.

Shareef Allman, 47, is suspected of the shooting that occurred at about 4:15 a.m. at the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant at 24001 Stevens Creek Blvd. in Cupertino, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said at a noontime news conference.

After fleeing the worksite, Allman allegedly attempted to take a woman's car at gunpoint shortly before 7 a.m. in a Hewlett-Packard company parking lot near the intersection of Homestead Road and Tantau Avenue. When the woman refused, he shot her once before fleeing, sheriff's officials said.    

The woman was taken to a hospital to be treated for her injuries, which are not considered life-threatening.

A Mercury sedan associated with Allman was later found at an Arco gas station at the intersection of Wolfe and Homestead roads, the last place he has been seen Wednesday, Smith said.

Authorities recovered a shotgun, handgun and two assault rifles that allegedly belonged to Allman, Smith said. Sheriff's officials have also obtained surveillance footage from the gas station that shows him walking away from the car with a rifle, she said.

Sheriff's deputies, along with other local law enforcement agencies, are continuing their search in the area where he was last seen, sheriff's officials said Wednesday night.

They are reminding residents that Allman is considered armed and dangerous. He is described as a black man who is about 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 215 pounds.

Bay Area Mourns Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Bay Area friends and admirers of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs mourned his death Wednesday night.

Jobs, who stepped down as the head of the tech company in August, was 56 years old.

"Steve Jobs was a giant in the world of technology and established the Bay Area as a global center for innovation," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement.

"Steve was a true visionary who brought out the best in others," Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

Dozens reportedly gathered in San Francisco's Mission Dolores Park for an impromptu "iPhone vigil," which was promoted on social media websites. "Come, turn up your brightness, and remember, together," the Mission Dolores Park Facebook page said.

Social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook were awash with messages from Jobs' fans. The twitter trends #ThankYouSteve and RIP Steve Jobs were filled with words of thanks, mourning, and favorite Jobs quotes.    

President Obama released a statement Wednesday evening saying, "Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it."

Occupy Wall Street Protests Come To Market Street

Blue tarps and tents pitched on the sidewalk interrupted the usual urban landscape on one block of Market Street Wednesday as a group of people, young and old alike, occupied the space in solidarity with the weeks-long Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.

Protesters associated with the group "Occupy SF" have been camping out in the city's Financial District for the last couple of weeks. The group staged several demonstrations and events Wednesday, including a midday march through the city's Civic Center in which some 200 people marched up Polk Street.

At least a hundred people -- including some from as far away as Perth and Madrid -- milled about the partially canopied sidewalk in front of the Federal Reserve Bank at 101 Market St. Wednesday afternoon.    

An absence of definite action marked the space in which people freely expressed themselves and simply existed in the spontaneous community. A flautist took a break from playing to converse with a woman holding a bunch of large sunflowers. Someone waved an American flag that was raised upside-down on a staff.

The occupation is being held in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, which describes itself on its website as a "leaderless resistance movement" using nonviolent means to protest the nation's growing disparities between the rich and poor.

The site says, "We are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent."

Oakland Man Convicted Of Second-Degree Murder

An Oakland man has been convicted of second-degree murder for fatally shooting another man in East Oakland on the victim's 24th birthday two years ago.

Jurors deliberated for one day before announcing their verdict on Monday against 19-year-old Ronald Thomas for the death of Alvin Burns Jr. in the 8700 block of MacArthur Blvd., near Castlemont High School, on Nov. 20, 2009.

Thomas faces a state prison term of 40 years to life when Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson sentences him on Jan. 4 because jurors convicted him of using a firearm to kill Burns in addition to second-degree murder.

Prosecutors said Burns was celebrating his 24th birthday with friends and at one point during the evening they parked in front of a home on the 8700 block of MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland to wait for another friend to come outside.

Prosecutors said Thomas walked by while Burns and his friends were waiting in the car and he walked toward them after one of the passengers called out his name.

Thomas looked inside the car, asked Burns "What's up" in an aggressive manner, pulled out a .40-caliber handgun from his waistband and shot Burns in the head, prosecutors said.

Thomas was arrested after he walked out of the Century 16 Hilltop movie theater complex on Klose Way in Richmond the day after the shooting. He was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit.

Thomas's attorney, David Washington, said Wednesday that he believes Thomas was innocent and wasn't present when Burns was killed.    

Washington also said the prosecution's witnesses were "very unreliable."

Two Nurses' Unions Filed Federal Charges Against Sutter Health

Two nurses' unions filed federal charges against Sutter Health on Tuesday on behalf of nurses who participated in a one-day strike in September, a California Nurses Association spokesman said Wednesday.    

The unions claim that Sutter's hospital affiliates conducted an illegal lockout when they told striking nurses they could not return to work for five days following the strike.

The one-day strike on Sept. 22 involved an estimated 23,000 nurses from Sutter hospitals, Kaiser Permanente hospitals and Children's Hospital in Oakland. Striking Sutter and Children's Hospital nurses were not allowed to return to work for at least five days following the strike, while Kaiser nurses were allowed to return to work the next day.

Sutter officials have said this was because replacement nurses needed to be contracted for at least five days, according to terms set by nursing staffing agencies providing temporary replacements.    

But the charges filed Tuesday with the National Labor Relations Board claim that since Kaiser nurses were able to return to work after only one day, it was not necessary for Sutter to contract replacement nurses for five days.

Idelson said more nurses from Kaiser hospitals were on strike than from Sutter hospitals, further demonstrating that keeping nurses from work for five days was unnecessary.

Bill Gleeson, vice president of communications for Sutter health, said in a statement Wednesday that the five-day contracts were necessary to ensure continuity of care while the hospitals' regular nurses were on strike.

Saratoga Lawyer Convicted Of Fraud

A Saratoga lawyer who ran two investment funds was convicted of wire fraud in federal court in San Francisco Wednesday in connection with a scheme to defraud investors of $1.1 million.

David Prince, 49, who lives in Saratoga and has a law office in Los Gatos, was found guilty of five counts of wire fraud by a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer after a three-week trial.    

He is due to be sentenced by Breyer on Jan. 11. The wire fraud convictions each carry a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but the actual sentence will be determined after consideration of federal sentencing guidelines.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said evidence at the trial showed that Prince defrauded more than 30 investors of $1.1 million between August 2005 and January 2007. The two funds he ran were MJE Invest! and the Leopard Fund.    

Haag said Prince falsely promised returns as high as five to 25 percent, falsely stated the money would be invested in the stock market and used his status as a lawyer to reassure investors about the legality of the two funds.

Prince lost most of the investors' money through risky options trading, Haag said. He also spent more than $200,000 on personal items including the leasing of a Mercedes Benz automobile, prosecutors said.    

Some investors received some payments with money obtained from newer investors, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Daniel Barton was not available for comment Wednesday.

Juvenile Chinook Salmon Accidentally Released Into San Francisco Bay

Forty thousand juvenile Chinook salmon, some raised by high school students, entered San Francisco Bay when their holding pens in Tiburon were vandalized this week.

Half of the fish were raised from eggs by students of Casa Grande High School in Petaluma and were to be released at the end of the month from their holding pens at San Francisco State University's Romberg Tiburon Center in Tiburon, said Brooke Halsey, executive director of the Tiburon Salmon Institute, which runs the program.

Sometime between 9 a.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, vandals cut the zip ties that held the nets in place in the pens, Halsey said. That lowered the nets to the water and the 8- to 12-inch-long fish swam away, she said.    

There are still 20,000 fish that will be released Oct. 30 in Tiburon at a ceremony that will mark the end of the project, Halsey said.    

The loss of the fish particularly affects the senior students who were engaged with the project for the last time, Halsey said.    

The Tiburon Salmon Institute would love donations for a security system at the Romberg Tiburon Center and a large turnout at the Oct. 30 release event, Halsey said.

She said it is possible that fishermen who wanted to free the small fish to attract larger fish are responsible for the vandalism. There also is speculation an animal right's group was involved, said Halsey, a former Sonoma County prosecutor.

Nurse Attacked By Contra Costa County Jail Inmate

A nurse attacked by a Contra Costa County jail inmate nearly a year ago was found by a coroner's jury Tuesday to have died at the hands of another person, other than by accident.

The verdict came at the close of a coroner's inquest into the death of 55-year-old El Sobrante resident Cynthia Palomata, who was attacked while working at the Martinez Detention Facility by inmate Aaron Nygaard, 35, of El Cerrito.

Nygaard allegedly attacked Palomata with a lamp on October 25, 2010, while she was treating him for apparent alcohol withdrawal symptoms, leading to her death three days later.

He had been jailed after an El Cerrito resident found him breaking into his home.

Nygaard is now being held in Alameda County Jail where he is awaiting trial for Palomata's murder.    

The coroner's jury reached the verdict Tuesday after hearing testimony from witnesses to the attack, sheriff's officials said.

Man Fatally Shot In South Hayward

A man who was fatally shot in south Hayward Monday night was identified Wednesday as 24-year-old Terry Paiso.

Paiso, a Hayward resident, was found suffering from a gunshot wound in the 900 block of Forselles Way off Tyrrell Avenue by officers responding to reports that at least one shot had been fired in that area about 8:45 p.m. Monday, police said.

Emergency personnel treated Paiso but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they have not established a motive for the shooting.

Sea Lion That Crossed Highway 101 Was Euthanized

A sea lion that crossed U.S. Highway 101 in Burlingame on Saturday after being shot in the face had to be euthanized Wednesday, a spokesman for the Marine Mammal Center said.

The female sea lion, named "Broadway Bound" for the route she took toward the Highway 101 Broadway off-ramp, was euthanized after preliminary tests indicated that she might suffer from toxic algae poisoning along with the gunshot wound, center spokesman Jim Oswald said.

After being found in a ditch on the side of the highway, the animal was taken to the Sausalito-based center where veterinarians found she had recently suffered a gunshot wound to the face, Oswald said.    

Broadway Bound was the sixth sea lion treated by the center for a gunshot wound this year. No information is available about a possible suspect in the most recent shooting, and no arrests have been made in any of the year's previous cases, Oswald said.

"A lot of the cases can't even be investigated," he said. "Without a witness, it's really, really hard."

Anyone with information about the shooting of Broadway Bound or another sea lion is encouraged to call the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's tip line at (800) 853-1964.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Isolated thunderstorms and rain are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Highs likely to be in the mid 50s to lower 60s.

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

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

 

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Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Scattered showers are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms that may produce small hail are expected in the afternoon. Highs will be in the mid 50s to low 60s.

Showers are likely this evening and there is a slight chance of thunderstorms that may produce small hail. There is a chance of showers after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected Thursday with a slight chance of showers. Highs near 60 are expected.

 

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Hundreds Of Protestors Marching In Solidarity With Occupy Wall Street

Hundreds of people gathered in San Francisco's Civic Center this afternoon in solidarity with the weeks-long Occupy Wall Street protests in New York.

The "Occupy SF" protesters, who have been camping out in the city's Financial District for the last couple of weeks, began marching earlier today from the Federal Reserve Bank at 101 Market St. toward Civic Center.

They arrived in Civic Center Plaza around 1 p.m., with more than 200 people shouting chants such as "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

At the front of the march was a group of people holding a large sign that said "Stop the War on Working People."

The march continued north on Polk Street toward the federal building on Golden Gate Avenue with a couple of dozen police officers on motorcycles accompanying the protesters as of 1:30 p.m.

The protest and march is being held in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, which describes itself on its website as a "leaderless resistance movement" using nonviolent means to protest the nation's growing disparities between the rich and poor.

The site says, "We are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent."

 

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Woman Robs Bank, Arrested After Sitting In Lobby Afterward

A woman who robbed a bank on San Francisco's Market Street on Tuesday evening was arrested after deciding for an unknown reason to sit down in the bank's lobby instead of fleeing, a police spokesman said today.

The robbery was reported at 5:53 p.m. at the Chase bank at 1201 Market St. at the intersection of Eighth Street.

The suspect, later identified as 48-year-old Antioch resident Deann Olivia Lopez, walked into the bank and gave a note to an employee demanding money, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The employee gave money to Lopez, who then went and sat in the lobby of the bank, Esparza said.

Officers responded to the report of the robbery and took Lopez into custody, Esparza said. He said she didn't say why she remained at the bank following the heist.

No one was injured during the robbery.

Lopez was booked into county jail on suspicion of robbery and burglary, Esparza said.

 

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About 500 Without Power This Morning After Stormy Weather

About 500 PG&E customers in San Francisco are without power, a PG&E spokesman said.

As of 3:19 a.m. hundreds of San Francisco customers in areas throughout the city had no power after the outage started at 3:12 a.m., spokesman JD Guidi said.

There was no estimate when power would return. Crews are in the downed areas working to bring back power, Guidi said.

The outage is likely related to weather but the official cause is being investigated, Guidi said.

As of 4:30 a.m. there were 1,700 customers throughout the Bay Area without power, according to Guidi.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday News Roundup

San Jose Police Officers Arrested And Charged For Grand Theft

Two San Jose police officers were arrested and charged Tuesday with felony grand theft following an investigation into allegations that they embezzled $120,000 from a Latino police officers organization.

The officers are San Jose Police Officer Marco Ybarra and former San Jose Police Officer Manuel Villagrana.

Both are 37-year-old residents of San Jose and former members of the San Jose chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, a nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate discrimination and improve police-citizen relations by engaging in political activism.

The primary focus of the organization is to award scholarships to minority students through fundraising efforts and donation solicitations.    

Officers arrested Ybarra and Villagrana Tuesday morning following a nine month-long investigation by police.

Investigators allege that Ybarra, when he served as treasurer of the San Jose chapter from 2005 to 2006, withdrew cash totaling $19,900 from the LPOA account and separately issued himself two $10,000 checks drawn on LPOA funds that he deposited into his personal bank account.

Villagrana is accused of withdrawing $83,900 in cash from the LPOA's account between 2007 and 2009, while he was president of the San Jose chapter.

John Chase, who is prosecuting the case, said they withdrew the money in dozens of transactions. He would not disclose how Ybarra and Villagrana spent the money.

Police In Search For Tattoo Party Promoter

Police said Tuesday that they are trying to find the promoter of a tattoo party after which three people were shot to death and three others were wounded.

San Leandro police Sgt. Doug Calcagno said promoter Oscar Edwards talked to police shortly after the shooting at the corner of Alvarado Street and Aladdin Avenue shortly before 1:20 a.m. Sunday but hasn't been in touch with them since.

He said police want to talk to Edwards, who lives in Oakland, because "he has information on the people who were at the party" and those who were helping to run it.

It's estimated that about 200 people attended the tattoo party, which was held at a warehouse and was heavily promoted on Facebook and other social media websites, according to Calcagno.

The shooting occurred about 50 minutes after the party ended at 12:30 a.m. Sunday, he said.

The initial indication is that Edwards was at the party but left before the shooting and didn't see it, Calcagno said. But he said police want Edwards to give a formal statement and confirm that information.    

Edwards didn't get a permit for the party but it's unclear whether he was legally obligated to do so, Calcagno said.

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

Three other people were wounded in the shooting. Calcagno said one of them has been released from a local hospital but the other two victims are still in serious condition.

Man Accused Of Fatal Shooting Of Another Man In Parkside Pleaded Not Guilty

A man accused of the fatal shooting of another man in San Francisco's Parkside neighborhood last month pleaded not guilty to murder charges Tuesday, a district attorney's office spokesman said.

Konstantin Solodukhin, 22, was arrested last Wednesday in connection with the Sept. 17 death of 25-year-old Edgar Yegiyan, who was shot near 35th Avenue and Rivera Street, police said.

Yegiyan was standing in front of a friend's house smoking a cigarette during a party when Solodukhin allegedly shot him several times with an assault rifle, police and prosecutors said.

Another man, 22-year-old Oren Zakhrabov, drove Solodukhin away from the shooting and housed him afterward, prosecutors said.

Solodukhin was arrested at San Francisco International Airport last Wednesday, hours before he was set to leave on a one-way international flight, police said.

Zakhrabov was also arrested at his home in the city's South of Market neighborhood.

Solodukhin was arraigned Tuesday morning on murder and firearm charges and denied all allegations, district attorney's spokesman Omid Talai said.

Solodukhin is being held in county jail in lieu of $7 million bail and will return to court for a pre-hearing conference on Oct. 11, Talai said.

Zakhrabov, who pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of being an accessory to the crime after the fact, will return to court this Friday for a hearing on his bail, which is currently set at $750,000, Talai said.

UC Berkeley Professor Saul Perlmutter Won Nobel Prize In Physics

University of California at Berkeley professor Saul Perlmutter won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday by being part of a team of scientists who discovered that the universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating pace.    

And now Perlmutter's fame is expanding at an ever-accelerating pace as well.

Perlmutter, 52, told about 150 people at a news conference at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he is a faculty senior scientist, that he was wakened at 3 a.m. by a reporter who asked him how he felt about winning the prize along with two other scientists.

He said he spent about an hour wondering if it was a hoax as "reporter after reporter" called him, but he finally got a call from Nobel Prize authorities in Sweden who officially told him that he had in fact won the prize.

Perlmutter, a native of Champaign, Ill., who earned his doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1986, will get half of the $1.5 million prize. The other half will be shared by Adam G. Riess, 41, of Johns Hopkins University and Brian Schmidt, 44, of Australian National University's Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories.

Perlmutter heads the international Supernova Cosmology Project, which pioneered the methods used to discover the accelerating expansion of the universe, and has been a leader in studies to determine the nature of dark energy.

San Jose Police And Firefighters Unions Meet For Pension Reform

San Jose's police and firefighter unions will meet with the city's negotiating team today to discuss a pension reform plan they submitted to San Jose elected officials last week.    

Last Wednesday, five San Jose unions announced a plan that they claim would provide the city with $467 million in reduced pension costs over the next five years.

The unions, representing San Jose police officers, firefighters, architects and engineers, middle managers, and maintenance supervisors, submitted the plan to city officials on Sept. 28 and are meeting with the city's negotiating team today to discuss it.

"We have lots of questions about the proposal they provided to the city," said Gina Donnelly, deputy director of employee relations.     

The unions submitted proposals that significantly reduce the cost of pension benefits for employees, increase the retirement age, and decrease the rate at which pension benefits are earned.

They're calling it a "fair compromise" compared to Mayor Chuck Reed's plan, which calls for setting limits on retirement benefits for new and current employees and retirees -- a plan that George Beattie, president of the Police Officers' Association, called "illegal" because it attempts to nullify employee contracts.

The meeting will take place at 3 p.m. at City Hall.

Bernal Heights Man Fatally Shot In Home

A man who was fatally shot in a home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood on Monday night has been identified by the medical examiner's office as 28-year-old Richard Fowler Jr.

The shooting was reported at 9:38 p.m. at a home in the 400 block of Franconia Street. Fowler Jr. was taken to a hospital but pronounced dead upon arrival, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

Police arrested Anthony Wright, a 34-year-old San Francisco resident, suspected of fatally shooting Fowler Jr. in the head, Esparza said.

Wright was seen fleeing from the home and entering a nearby home on Holladay Avenue. Police took Wright into custody at the home on Holladay Avenue, Esparza said.

Police booked Wright in county jail Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of murder and weapons related charges, Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield said.     The motive for the shooting remains under investigation, Esparza said.

The homicide is San Francisco's 45th of 2011. At the same point last year, there had been 37 homicides in the city.

Santa Rosa Man Found Dead After Discharged From Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

A Santa Rosa man who was found dead 12 hours after he was discharged from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital last month was taken there for severe neck pain from a fall the day before and for tremors from alcohol withdrawal, according to hospital records.

Doug Fladseth, the attorney for the family of the deceased man, Michael Torres, Tuesday afternoon provided the records of Torres' visit to the hospital emergency room on Sept. 19.    

The results of the toxicology tests taken at Torres' autopsy are expected within two weeks. They will show what drugs or alcohol were in his body when he died.

Torres arrived at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital at 3:30 p.m. The hospital's emergency room report states Torres had a past history of alcohol withdrawal. It noted there were no visible injuries from trauma, assault or a fall.

Torres said he drank daily and both his hands were shaking, according to the hospital report. Torres said he had not had a drink since the day before.

Torres was resting comfortably when he was re-examined at 7 p.m. and was stable at 7:30 p.m., according to the hospital report.

He was counseled and given instructions about alcohol withdrawal and told he needed a follow-up appointment the next day at a health clinic.

The report states Torres again mentioned intense neck pain. He was given 1 mg of Lorazepam, a drug for anxiety, alcohol withdrawal and insomnia commonly known as Ativan.

Torres was discharged from the hospital at 7:37 p.m. His body was found in the southwest area of the hospital the following morning around 8 a.m.

Alameda County Board Of Supervisors Voted To Appoint Donna Ziegler To County Counsel's Office

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Donna Ziegler to head the County Counsel's Office, the legal agency that advises county officials.

Ziegler, who joined the office in 2000, succeeds Richard Winnie, who died in March after a long illness.    

Richard Karlsson, a former Chief Assistant County Counsel, has temporarily headed the office since Winnie's death.

Board President Nate Miley said in a statement, "Donna will lead the County Counsel's Office with a strong commitment to public service and an understanding of the many challenges and issues facing Alameda County."

County Administrator Susan Muranishi said, "With her broad experience and knowledge of the county, Donna will be an excellent addition to our executive leadership team."

Ziegler joined the office as a Deputy County Counsel, was promoted to the position of Assistant County counsel and later became Chief Assistant County Counsel under Winnie.

Prior to working for the county, Ziegler was a member of the Oakland law firm of Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May.

Ziegler graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her law degree from the university's law school.

Ziegler said, "I am honored and excited to be appointed as the county's chief counsel and look forward to serving the Board of Supervisors and leading the staff in the Office of County Counsel."

Ziegler and her family live in the Fairview District in unincorporated Alameda County.

Blue Angels Fleet Week Begins With Navy's Precision Flight Demonstration Team

The Blue Angels -- the Navy's precision flight demonstration team -- are expected to arrive in formation at San Francisco International Airport today, one day before the kick-off of this year's Fleet Week festivities.

The flight team will conduct practice flights on Thursday and Friday ahead of the air shows scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoons.    

The Blue Angels are scheduled to touch down at SFO at approximately 11 a.m. today.

Fleet Week brings together the U.S. Navy, Marine Corp and Coast Guard to offer air shows, ship tours, a parade and festivals, according to event organizers.

This year, the military pilots will share the sky with their Canadian Forces counterparts, the Snowbirds, according to event organizers.

The air shows are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.

Approximately 10,000 military servicemembers and nearly a million air-show spectators are expected to flock to San Francisco for this year's events, which mark the 30th anniversary of Fleet Week's current form.    

The expanded festivities to honor the men and women in the naval services began in 1981, under then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

This year's events mark another milestone in naval history -- the 100th anniversary of naval aviation. On Jan. 18, 1911, Eugene Ely took off in a biplane from San Bruno and landed the aircraft aboard the USS Pennsylvania, which had been anchored in San Francisco Bay, marking the earliest demonstration that planes could land on ships at sea.

Ships are expected to arrive through the Golden Gate Saturday morning and will berth along the city's northern waterfront for the remainder of their visit, which concludes Tuesday.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Scattered showers are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms that may produce small hail are expected in the afternoon. Highs will be in the mid 50s to low 60s.

Showers are likely this evening and there is a slight chance of thunderstorms that may produce small hail. There is a chance of showers after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected Thursday with a slight chance of showers. Highs near 60 are expected.
 

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Grenade, Handgun Found In Crocker Amazon Home

A San Francisco resident found a handgun and a grenade this morning in their home in the city's Crocker Amazon neighborhood, a police spokesman said.

The weapons were found at about 9 a.m. at a home in the 1100 block of Geneva Avenue, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

They were found by someone cleaning out an upstairs closet and are believed to be that of a family member at the home. The grenade was collected and disposed of, Esparza said.

Geneva Avenue was closed between Naples and Madrid streets as of 11 a.m.

 

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City's Hospital First In Country Certified For Brain Trauma Treatment

San Francisco General Hospital became the first acute-care medical center in the country to become certified for treatment of traumatic brain injuries, Mayor Ed Lee's office announced Monday.

The hospital received the certification from the Joint Commission, an independent body that accredits and certifies hospitals nationwide, after an on-site survey on Sept. 21 as part of the voluntary certification process, according to the mayor's office.

"It is gratifying that our commitment to traumatic brain injury patients from all walks of life has been recognized as meeting the highest national standards," hospital CEO Sue Currin said in a statement.

The hospital is already internationally recognized for its expertise in traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, according to the mayor's office. Hospital neurotrauma specialists treat more than 1,200 patients with those injuries each year.

One such patient is Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who suffered brain damage when he was assaulted outside a Los Angeles ballpark following the March 31 season opener against the Dodgers.

Doctors in Los Angeles treated Stow for seven weeks until his condition improved enough to allow for his transfer on May 16 to the Bay Area where, still comatose, he came under the care of Chief of Neurosurgery Dr. Geoffrey Manley and his neurotrauma team at San Francisco General Hospital.

"I truly believe this new certification effort by The Joint Commission can lead to improved care for traumatic brain-injured patients across the United States," Manley said in a statement.

The neurosurgical team performs about 300 brain surgery operations annually and also actively manages patients' critical neurotrauma care.

Six months after the attack, Stow is beginning to communicate through facial expressions and short sentences. Last week, he sat outside and felt the sun on his face for the first time since the beating.

Mayor Ed Lee said that the stories of patients like Stow have "captured the public's attention" and made the public aware of the hospital's work.

"I have seen for myself the great work that San Francisco General Hospital's doctors, nurses and administrators and staff do for brain-injured patients," Lee said.

San Francisco Director of Public Health Barbara Garcia echoed Lee's sentiments, saying "it is a testament to the hard work of the (hospital's) team that their professionalism, compassion, perseverance and patient advocacy has been acknowledged and will set an example for the nation."

The hospital is the city's only trauma center and serves some 100,000 patients annually.

 

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Man Shot To Death By Police After Fatally Stabbing Mother Identified

A man who allegedly stabbed both of his parents before being shot to death by police on Monday in San Francisco's Richmond District has been identified by the medical examiner's office as 44-year-old Peter Woo.

Woo's mother, 73-year-old Nina Woo, succumbed to her injuries a couple of hours after the stabbing, which was reported at about 7:30 a.m. Monday in the 600 block of Funston Avenue, police said.

Officers responded and found Peter Woo's 78-year-old father in the doorway with stab wounds to his forearm and hand, according to police.

The officers then went upstairs and found Nina Woo bleeding profusely from stab wounds to her upper torso. As they tried to pull her to safety, the officers were confronted by Peter, who was waving a knife in each hand, police said.

An officer used a beanbag weapon against him but it was ineffective, so the second officer then shot him with his gun.

The two victims and their son were taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Peter Woo was pronounced dead at 9:39 a.m. while his mother succumbed to her injuries two minutes later.

A third victim, the 50-year-old sister of Peter Woo, was found hiding in the back of the home in a locked bedroom and was unhurt, police said.

The motive for the stabbings has not been determined, according to police.

The officer-involved shooting is being investigated by the Police Department's homicide detail and internal affairs division, as well as the district attorney's office and the city's Office of Citizen Complaints, per standard procedure.

A community meeting about the shooting is being held by the Police Department in the city's Richmond District this evening.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Richmond Recreational Center at 251 18th Ave. between California and Clement streets.

 

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Man Fatally Shot In Bernal Heights Home Monday Night

A 28-year-old man was fatally shot in a home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood on Monday night, a police spokesman said today.

The shooting was reported at 9:38 p.m. at a home in the 400 block of Franconia Street.

The victim was shot in the head by the suspect, who was seen fleeing from the home and into another home nearby on Holladay Avenue, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The victim was taken to a hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival. His name is not being released by the medical examiner's office until his family is notified of the death.

The suspect, whose name was also not yet being released this morning, was taken into custody at the home on Holladay Avenue, Esparza said.

The motive for the shooting remains under investigation, he said.

The homicide is San Francisco's 45th of 2011. At the same point last year, there had been 37 homicides in the city. 

 

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October 5, 2011

Raju and Simmi Kumar were busy Tuesday afternoon arranging multihued shawls, skirts, handbags and tablecloths imported from their native India in their new Mission District store, Simmi Boutique. "We want to help the...

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Twice a week, The Chronicle features a local home on the market that caught our eye for its architecture, history or character. See more photos at www.sfgate.com/ZHQD . Address: 50 Inverleith Terrace, Piedmont Asking...

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Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137