San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday Morning News Roundup

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Richmond: Victims of Triple Shooting Were Part of RichmondBUILD Program

The victims of a shooting that left one man dead and two people injured in Richmond Tuesday morning were jogging as part of an agility test for the city's RichmondBUILD program when a gunman opened fire, an eyewitness said.

Officers found the three victims lying on the sidewalk and in the street in the 300 block of South 28th Street, near Boorman Park, around 11:10 a.m., police Detective Nicole Abetkov said.

Police were alerted to the shooting by multiple 911 calls and the city's ShotSpotter gunshot detection system.

Emergency responders pronounced one man dead at the scene.

The other two men hit by the gunfire were taken to hospitals and are expected to survive, Abetkov said.

A student with RichmondBUILD said she was jogging around the block with the group as part of an agility test for the program, a public-private partnership to teach low-income participants construction skills and get them placed in jobs.

She said that as the group ran, someone drove by them slowly and then began shooting at the group, firing six to eight shots.

Two people were shot in the ankle, and a third fell in the street. The shooter then stopped the car, got out, and shot the victim in the street in the head, the student said.

All three victims were part of the program, she said.

Police have not made any arrests in the case, although officers found an abandoned vehicle that may be associated with the crime, Abetkov said.

Abetkov said the shooting occurred about half a block from the Ruth C. Powers Child Development Center, which was placed on lockdown after the shooting.

Investigators were interviewing witnesses Tuesday afternoon.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Richmond police at (510) 232-8477.

Callers may remain anonymous, and a reward is offered for information leading to the suspects' arrest and conviction.

SF: More Details Released About Police Shooting in Mission on Sunday

San Francisco police held a town hall meeting Tuesday to release more details about a shooting early Sunday in which two men, one armed with a replica firearm, were injured by an officer's gunfire in the city's Mission District.

The shooting occurred around 2 a.m. Sunday near Valencia and 17th streets after an altercation between two groups on the street, police Chief Greg Suhr said at a meeting held Tuesday evening at Cornerstone Church on 17th Street.

Suhr said some questions still remain about the shooting, including what prompted the altercation and whether the second man struck by the officer's gunfire was involved in the initial confrontation.

The incident began when a group of men walked out of the Elbo Room bar and headed north on Valencia Street, then were approached from behind by another group of men who confronted them, Suhr said.

Someone in the second group then pulled out what appeared to be a gun, prompting a civilian to run to the nearby Mission police station to report the brewing altercation, the chief said.

Two officers went to the scene and saw the man with the gun and one officer fired three rounds, striking the armed suspect twice and the other man once, Suhr said.

The two men were taken to the hospital and were both initially considered to have life-threatening injuries, although the man who was unarmed is now expected to survive, according to Suhr.

The chief said the unarmed man, who is in his mid 20s, told investigators he was an innocent bystander but witnesses have said he was involved in the altercation.

Suhr said the armed man, a 20-year-old San Francisco resident, turned out to be carrying an air-powered gun that does not shoot bullets.

He said other details about the case, including the motive for the confrontation, remain under investigation.

San Jose: Soldier Killed in Enemy Attack in Afghanistan

A U.S. Army specialist from San Jose was killed in Afghanistan last weekend, military officials said. Delfin Santos Jr., 24, died Saturday in Kandahar after he was fatally injured in an enemy attack that involved a vehicle-based improvised explosive device in the Zabul province.

Two other soldiers, Spc. Wilbel Robles-Santa, 25, of Juncos, Puerto Rico, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Ward, 24, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., who were in Santos' unit, also died in the attack.

The soldiers were accompanying a group of American officials and their Afghan counterparts who were on their way to donate books to students at a school in Qalat, the Zabul province's capital, according to a statement released by the State Department.

Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old Foreign Service officer, was also killed in the attack, as well as a Department of Defense civilian and Afghan civilians, State Department officials said.

Four other State Department employees were wounded, including one person who was critically injured, according to the State Department.

Santos was a cavalry scout who joined the Army in February 2007.

This was his second deployment.

Santos was part of the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.

He joined the unit in May 2011.

SF: City Workers, Lawmakers Call for Equal Pay for Working Women

City workers and elected leaders rallied for equal pay for women on the steps of San Francisco City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

As part of the 50th annual National Equal Pay Day, about 50 SEIU Local 1021 union members, who represent city and county employees, and other supporters called for equitable pay rates for women workers, while chanting and carrying signs on the Polk Street steps of City Hall.

San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen said it cannot be a celebration of equality because 50 years after the federal Equal Pay Act was signed by President John F. Kennedy women are on average only earning about 77 percent of what their male counterparts make.

"While we have made some great strides for women, we are not even done," she said.

She said pay disparity affects families as well, who are impacted by hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages owed for years of work for female employees.

Cohen sponsored a resolution asking the Board of Supervisors to recognize Tuesday as Equal Pay Day.

The resolution also encouraged local employers to review their wage policies and ensure women are being paid fairly.

The resolution was co-sponsored by supervisors David Chiu, John Avalos, David Campos, Norman Yee and Eric Mar.

It passed at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting unanimously.

Board President Chiu said he was proud to support the legislation.

"It's important for those of us who are men to be part of this," he said.

Supervisor Campos said San Francisco has been a trailblazing city in terms of providing equal pay, but next year's budget is threatening pay cuts to positions primarily held by women or people of color.

SEIU officials identified 16 city and county job classifications that are slated to receive wage cuts in the next fiscal year, and have determined that two-thirds of those employees are women.

Some of the jobs include nursing assistants, payroll clerks, museum guards and other personnel positions. 

Oakland: Gang Associate Ties 17-Year-Old to Shooting Death of Toddler

An Acorn gang associate testified Tuesday that a 17-year-old boy was one of three people who fired shots at rival gang members in West Oakland in November 2011 that wound up killing a 23-month-old boy.

The 32-year-old man, who asked prosecutors not to disclose his name to the news media, said he decided to take responsibility for his role in being the driver for the suspects in the shooting incident because he feels bad about the death of the young boy.

Hiram Lawrence Jr. died after being shot while held by his father among a large group of people in a parking lot in the 700 block of Willow Street at about 6 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2011.

Hiram, an innocent bystander who wasn't the intended target, was struck in the head and was treated at Children's Hospital Oakland but eventually died on Dec. 9, 2011, after he was taken off life support.

The gang associate, who was dressed in a yellow jail uniform and shackles and guarded by a bailiff, said, "I was praying for the baby because I have kids of my own" but after Hiram died he "was hurting inside" and admitted to his role because "it was something I wanted to get off my chest."

Testifying in the preliminary hearing for Frederick Coleman in Alameda County Superior Court, the man said the shots that resulted in Hiram's death and injuries to six members of the Lower Bottoms, a rival West Oakland gang, were fired by Coleman as well as by Dionte Huff, 33, also known as "Birdman," and Houston Nathaniel III, 33, also known as "No No."

The gang associate said the reputed Acorn gang members, who are based out of the Acorn housing projects, were shooting at the Lower Bottoms members because the two groups had been feuding for about five years.

Huff and Nathaniel are being prosecuted separately in federal court.

The gang associate has pleaded guilty to murder, six counts of attempted murder, participating in a racketeering conspiracy to benefit a gang and other charges for being an accomplice to the shooting for driving the suspects to and from the scene.

The man said he could face up to life in prison but the judge in his federal case will decide on his sentence after he finishes testifying against the other defendants in the case.

Richmond: Police Detective Fires at Armed Suspect, No One Hit

A Richmond police detective fired a single shot at a suspect who was allegedly holding a gun Tuesday afternoon but did not hit him, a police spokeswoman said.

Members of the department's gang task force were at 20th Street and Chanslor Avenue, several blocks from the Richmond BART station, at about 1:45 p.m. when they spotted a known gang member there, Detective Nicole Abetkov said.

The detectives were wearing jackets that identified them as police and were driving a marked patrol car.

They attempted to talk to the man, and he pulled out a handgun, Abetkov said.

One detective fired a single shot but did not hit the suspect.

He was then arrested and police confiscated his gun.

The man's name has not been released.

SF: Exploratorium Prepares to Reopen Next Week at Pier 15 Waterfront Facility

Hundreds of exhibits at the relocated San Francisco interactive science museum the Exploratorium are almost ready for the curious public to start exploring.

In just eight days, the museum at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero will open its newly built doors on April 17 after the longtime science center at the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District closed on Jan. 2.

At a media preview tour Tuesday, museum officials showed off the new campus, which will triple its capacity at 330,000 square feet, and features many old favorite exhibits from the shadow box to tornado maker to cow eye dissections.

Although construction crews were still working Tuesday morning on finishing touches on the $330 million building project, some 450 exhibits have made the move to the new space, while an additional 150 were created for the various galleries built along the waterfront.

Executive Director Dennis Bartels called the waterfront location "the best place for the quintessential San Francisco institution."

He said the larger facility will increase the museum's impact, most noticeably with an increase in the student Explainer program to include 360 orange-vested student guides at the museum compared to 120 youth docents at the old space.

Education programs will also get a boost, with more classrooms, resources and teacher sessions for as many as 1,000 educators each year, he said.

Board Chairman George Cogan said the museum will continue to "nurture curiosity" and continue to push the boundaries of science and experiential learning.

A mixture of indoor and outdoor space, the museum is divided into six galleries, including the all-glass Bay Observatory at the end of the pier, which offers a view of the water and the city and is accompanied by information about marine life and weather.

Tom Rockwell, director of exhibits, called the entire facility "a place for gathering and learning."

Sensory, music, human perception, physics, biology and chemistry are just some of the types of exhibits that span the length of the pier.

Marina: Man Surrenders After Fleeing to State Beach, Swimming Into Ocean

A man who led the California Highway Patrol on a 100 mph chase Tuesday ran onto a state beach across sand dunes and then tried to swim away in the ocean, a Marina police commander said.

The man, who was not named, was driving south in Marina at about 80 mph on Highway 1 at around 1 p.m. but when CHP officers tried to stop him he accelerated to 100 mph, Marina police Cmdr. Bob Nolan said.

He exited the highway at Reservation Road, parked off of Dunes Drive and fled on foot to the Marina State Beach with CHP officers, Marina police and California State Parks police in pursuit, Nolan said.

"He had everyone running over the dunes," Nolan said.

The man then shifted from the dunes to the Pacific Ocean, jumped in and "tried to escape by sea," Nolan said.

He made it past the first set of waves, swam out into deeper water for some time when he finally gave up and returned to shore to waiting officers.

"He decided that Hawaii's a little too far and swam back," he said.

Nolan said the man was only suspected of a speeding infraction when he tried to elude CHP officers.

Monterey Co.: Update: Suspect in DUI Crash That Killed Two, Injured One Released on $430,000 Bail

A man arrested after a crash in the Pebble Beach area on Sunday that killed two women and injured one has been released on $430,000 bail, according to the Monterey County District Attorney's Office.

Stuart Andrew Elder, 30, of Pacific Grove, is set to appear in court April 16 after the large bail amount got him out of jail Monday morning, said Terry Spitz, chief assistant district attorney.

Elder is suspected of driving a 2009 Cadillac Escalade headed south on Sloat Road near Bird Rock Road in Pebble Beach that veered to the northbound side of the road and crashed head-on into a 2005 Ford Freestyle SUV at 7:30 p.m., CHP spokesman Officer Robert Lehman said.

The two occupants of the other vehicle, women ages 65 and 72, died at the scene, Lehman said.

Elder suffered minor injuries, and a passenger in his vehicle, a 20-year-old woman, was flown to Stanford Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, Lehman said.

The district attorney's office has not filed charges against Elder in connection with the fatal crash and is waiting for investigation reports from the California Highway Patrol, Spitz said.

The CHP booked Elder on Sunday on suspicion of felony drunken driving causing injury, felony drunken driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher with injury and two counts of vehicular manslaughter, Spitz said.

Officers are still trying to locate relatives of the two women killed before releasing their names, Lehman said.

Elder was booked into the Monterey County Jail in Salinas that night and was released after posting bond Monday.

San Bruno: Chuck E. Cheese Restaurant Robbed at Gunpoint

San Bruno police are looking for a man who robbed a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant at gunpoint on Monday afternoon and then fled in a Prius.

At about 3:35 p.m., officers responded to reports of an armed robbery at the restaurant in San Bruno Towne Center, located in the 1200 block of El Camino Real, police said.

A man had entered the restaurant with a handgun and demanded money from an employee, police said.

The employee complied and gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of cash.

The suspect left the restaurant and fled in a silver Toyota Prius with a partial California license plate number of 6VWX, police said.

No one was injured in the robbery.

Responding officers searched the area but didn't find the car or the robber.

Witnesses said the suspect is white and in his mid-40s.

He was wearing a black baseball hat, blue jeans and a black jacket with white or gray striping on the sleeves and a Harley Davidson logo on the back.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call San Bruno police at (650) 616-7100 or email at

Marina: Boy Hit By Mother's Car '100 Percent Better,' Expected to Survive, Police Say

A 4-year-old Monterey County boy was "100 percent better" Tuesday after his mother accidentally backed into him with her car as she was leaving for work, a police commander said.

The condition of boy, who suffered cracked ribs when his mother's car ran over his chest cavity Monday, has improved from critical to stable, Marina police Cmdr. Bob Nolan.

"He's 100 percent better," Nolan said.

"He's been talking to his family. Kids are resilient when they're 4 years old." 

The boy remains bedridden at a hospital with a breathing tube, Nolan said.

"We think he will probably recover from his injuries," Nolan said.

Doctors thought at first his broken ribs had entered his lungs and threatened his life but his lungs were only bruised, Nolan said.

Police have no plans to charge his mother but county Child Protective Services will be interviewing both the mother and father about why the accident happened, Nolan said.

At about 9:50 a.m., the mother was backing out of the family's driveway in the 400 block of Exeter Place in the coastal community of Marina when she heard a scream, Nolan said.

She got out of the car and saw that she had hit her young son.

When emergency responders arrived, they found the mother "traumatized" and the boy badly injured, Nolan said.

He was taken to the Marina Municipal Airport, where he was airlifted to a Bay Area trauma center, he said.

Nolan said the boy had strayed into the driveway unbeknownst to his parents.

"The mom thought he was secured and the boy was looking for mom," Nolan said. 

Bay Area Wednesday Morning Weather Forecast

Sunny skies are likely in the Bay Area this morning.

Highs are expected to be near 70, with northwest winds up to 15 mph.

Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening, becoming mostly cloudy with patchy fog after midnight.

Lows are expected to be around 50 with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected Thursday morning, becoming sunny later in the day.

Highs are likely to be in the lower to mid 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.


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