San Francisco Bay Area Friday Midday News Roundup

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SFPD Officer Shoots At Suspect Who Rammed Police Car With Stolen Taxi

A San Francisco police officer shot at a man who stole a taxicab, then rammed a police car in the city's Presidio Heights neighborhood early this morning, a police spokesman said.

The incident began around 4:30 a.m. when the taxi was parked near Jackson and Buchanan streets in Pacific Heights and the suspect began jumping on the hood of the car and shattered its windshield, police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said.

The taxi driver fled, fearing for his safety, and the suspect jumped into the car and drove away, Shyy said.

Police soon tracked the car to Jackson and Spruce streets, where officers tried to block the taxi from fleeing.

However, the suspect drove straight at the officers, clipping a patrol car. One officer jumped out of the way and avoided injury while a second fired his service weapon at the suspect, who was not hit, Shyy said.

The suspect fled, but the stolen cab was found again shortly afterward at Bay and Octavia streets near Fort Mason. The vehicle was abandoned, but the suspect was found a half-block away and was taken into custody, according to Shyy.

Shyy said the suspect has been identified as a 25-year-old man, but his name is not yet being released. He was arrested on suspicion of carjacking and assault on a police officer.

Vigil Held In Daly City To Honor Three Killed In Drunk Driving Crash

Family members of three people killed in a Daly City drunk driving crash last weekend will join the Archdiocese of San Francisco in a prayer vigil this afternoon.

Josefa Osorio Acevedo, 50, and her sons Amado Osorio Acevedo, 23, and Josue Osorio, 15, were broadsided as they drove on Eastmoor Avenue on Saturday by a driver who prosecutors said was speeding away from an earlier drunk driving accident.

Family members now are struggling to come to grips with the loss and find the resources to pay for the funerals, according to Karen Velasquez, Josefa's niece.

Josefa was a single mother who worked hard to support her sons, Velasquez said. Amado and Josue were her only children.

"We're shocked and sad," Velasquez said today. "It's unfair because they didn't do anything wrong, they were just going out to eat and then, boom."

The family is seeking prayers from the community and help in coping with the unexpected expense of the three deaths, Velasquez said. A memorial fund has been established at www.osoriomemorial.com. Donations can be made online or by contacting the Bank of the West.

"We're just really hard working people and we're not prepared for any of this," Velasquez said. "If everybody can pray over us we would be grateful, if you can donate we would be grateful."

San Mateo County prosecutors allege that Sunnyvale resident Denis Pereria Demacedo, 28, who was on probation from a 2010 drunk driving conviction, spent as many as five hours drinking beer with friends at a Daly City pizzeria before getting behind the wheel at around 8 p.m. Saturday.

Shortly thereafter, Demacedo allegedly rear-ended another vehicle at a stop sign on Eastmoor Avenue and then drove around the vehicle to flee the scene, prosecutors said.

As he drove west on Eastmoor Avenue, Demacedo allegedly reached speeds of up to 60 mph and within seconds, he broadsided the driver's side of the victims' vehicle, which was pulling away from the right curb to make a U-turn, prosecutors said.

Another woman in the victims' car was seriously injured and taken to a hospital, where she was reportedly in stable condition earlier this week.

Demacedo, a native of Brazil, was not injured and was arrested at the scene. He is scheduled to enter a plea and set a preliminary hearing date on Tuesday and is being held without bail.

A blood test taken two hours after the crash measured his blood-alcohol level at .18 percent, more than twice the legal limit, prosecutors said.

He has been charged with three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence, felony DUI causing great bodily injury, and misdemeanor hit-and-run, according to the district attorney's office.

Today's prayer vigil will take place at 3 p.m. in the 100 block of Eastmoor Avenue, where the crash occurred.

Alameda County Waste Management Workers Hold Brief Strike

Hundreds of Waste Management employees at cities throughout Alameda County went on strike this morning to protest what they claim is a violation of federal labor laws and abuse of employee rights.

The strike, held at Waste Management facilities in Oakland, San Leandro and Altamont, began at about 3 a.m. and included landfill, customer service and recycling workers.

Workers decided to strike because they said the company violated federal law by threatening and intimidating employees, implementing workplace policies without bargaining with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and mistreating immigrant workers, according to union spokesman Craig Merrilees.

Merrilees said that the immigrant workers made a strong point to the company that they would not be bullied. Workers filed formal charges against Waste Management with the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, he said.

At 8 a.m., the 200-plus workers on strike went back to work, Merrilees said.

Residential waste and recycling pickup service in Alameda County will continue as scheduled and any interrupted service will be completed on Saturday, Waste Management spokesman David Tucker said.

Merrilees said he believes the strike was an overall success. 

"Any time a group of workers stand united to make a point to a powerful company, it is a sign that democracy is alive and well in America," he said. "No company should be above the law."

The strike was not about negotiations in a collective bargaining agreement, Merrilees said. It was about the workers telling the company they won't tolerate what they consider threats, firings and intimidation anymore, he said.

In 2012, Tucker said an internal audit discovered four employees without proper documentation for employment. They were asked to provide documentation and, after about six months, three employees did not provide documentation and were terminated, he said.

"No one is being targeted. No one is being singled out. It's the guidance that we have, it's employment law," Tucker said. "To make a case this is a widespread epidemic is unfounded."

Waste Management and the union's Local 6 have been working on a new contract with the aid of a federal mediator, according to Tucker. The two sides last met on Monday.

Another Concert Canceled Due To Strike By San Francisco Symphony Musicians

A strike by San Francisco Symphony musicians has caused the cancellation of another concert tonight, according to symphony officials.

The musicians announced the strike on Wednesday, prompting the symphony to cancel a concert that had been scheduled for Thursday, then a second one tonight.

The musicians and symphony management negotiated for 13 hours Thursday and early this morning but have not yet come to a resolution. More talks are scheduled for today, symphony officials said.

The musicians are unhappy with a proposal by management that would include a pay freeze in the first year and 1 percent increases in the next two years.

Although they make an average of more than $165,000, the third-highest total for a symphony in the country, the musicians say expensive instruments and the costs of living in the Bay Area hurt their ability to compete with other top orchestras.

People with tickets to tonight's canceled concert at Davies Symphony Hall can receive a refund, exchange them for tickets for another concert or donate the money to the symphony.

Information about the options is available by calling the symphony's box office at (415) 864-6000 or visiting online at www.sfsymphony.org.

Concerts are also scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. An update on the status of those concerts will be released on Saturday, according to symphony officials.

Man Killed In South San Francisco Motorcycle Crash Identified

A man who was killed in a motorcycle crash in South San Francisco on Thursday morning has been identified by the San Mateo County coroner's office as 29-year-old Austin John Biro.

Biro, a Burlingame resident, was riding at about 6 a.m. Thursday when he crashed into a retaining wall and tree behind a business complex at 951 Gateway Blvd., according to police.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call South San Francisco police at (650) 877-8900.

Antioch Police Lift Lockdown At Carmen Dragon Elementary School

An Antioch elementary school was on lockdown this morning because of police activity in the area.

Police advised staff at Carmen Dragon Elementary School, located at 4721 Vista Grande Drive, to place the school under lockdown around 11 a.m. due to potentially dangerous activity in the area, Principal Scott Bergerhouse said.

The principal said all classrooms are locked and all students are safe and accounted for.

No further information was immediately available.

Man Arrested After Stabbing In Watsonville; Police Find Grenade In Unrelated Case

An investigation into a stabbing in Watsonville on Thursday led to an arrest and the controlled detonation of a hand grenade that was found in a nearby storage unit in an unrelated incident, police said.

Officers were dispatched to 1726 Freedom Blvd. at about 4:20 p.m. on a report of two males fighting, but both people had driven away in separate cars by the time police arrived.

Shortly afterward, police were sent to Watsonville Community Hospital about a reported stabbing victim in the emergency room.

The male victim was suffering from life-threatening wounds and was transported by helicopter to another trauma center, where his life was saved, police said.

The investigation into the stabbing eventually led to the arrest of Nathan Navarro, 23, of Watsonville, on suspicion of attempted murder, police said.

Investigators determined that a fight had occurred between Navarro and the 23-year-old victim, who was stabbed three times in the stomach, police said.

Navarro, who was located by officers at about 2:15 a.m. today in his residence in the 100 block of Roberta Drive, was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail, police said.

While officers were investigating at the site of the stabbing in the 1700 block of Freedom Boulevard, a man emerged from a U-Haul truck to report finding a live hand grenade in a storage unit among items left by his deceased relatives, police said.

Police contacted the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office bomb squad and the grenade was taken to a landfill and safely detonated.

The discovery and detonation of the explosive were unrelated to the stabbing, police said.

SFPD Officer Punched In Nose Outside Party In Portrero Hill

A man was arrested after allegedly punching a police officer in the nose outside of a party in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood on Thursday night.

The attack was reported at 11:16 p.m. Thursday near 25th and Connecticut streets, where officers were at the scene to disperse people drinking and being loud, police said.

A 37-year-old man tried to return to the party and was approached by an officer. The man punched the officer in the face, and then was taken into custody, according to police.

The officer transported himself to a hospital to be treated for his injuries while the suspect, whose name was not immediately available, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for a complaint of pain to his shoulder, police said.

$10K Reward Offered For Information In February Homicide In Richmond

Police have announced a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects responsible for the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man in Richmond last month.

William Wheeler was found shot to death next to Lucas Park and Playground, located at 10th Street and Lucas Avenue, in the early hours of Feb. 4, police said.

A witness who spotted Wheeler's body flagged down a passing police officer just before 3 a.m., Lt. Bisa French said.

Wheeler was found to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police have not arrested anyone in connection with the shooting and detectives have not yet determined a motive, French said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Daniel Garcia at (510) 621-1244 or the anonymous tip line at (510) 232-8477.

More Than 40 San Jose Police Recruits Set To Graduate At Ceremony Today

More than 40 recruits of the San Jose Police Department are set to graduate today on their way to joining the force after completing a competitive six-month course, an academy spokesman said.

The ceremony for the 43 graduates takes place at 1 p.m. inside Parkside Hall, a large meeting facility at 180 Park Ave. adjacent to the Tech Museum of Innovation in downtown San Jose, according to police.

The future officers are graduating from the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium, or The Academy for short, located at Evergreen Valley College on Yerba Buena Road in southeastern San Jose.

Those graduating from the school's Basic Academy course have passed a rigorous 880-hour plan of study that takes six months to complete, said Gregg Giusiana, the academy's director.

"It's quite an accomplishment to graduate from a police academy," Giusiana said. "You have to pass every test. If you don't pass a test, you get to take it again and if you don't pass again, you are out."

The academy's course fulfills the minimum training requirements of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, needed to become a member of a public police agency in the state, Giusiana said.

Among the things recruits must pass to graduate are a physical agility test that includes a 500-yard sprint, a writing and reading test called the Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery, a personal interview and a background investigation.

Only two people who had been admitted to the academy this session left during the six-month training period, Guisiana said.

"That's remarkable," Guisiana said. "San Jose did a great job recruiting."

During the course of study, the students took classes in topics such as criminal law, patrol procedures, cultural diversity, investigative procedures, firearms, leadership, traffic enforcement, handling emotional situations and first aid/CPR, according to the academy's website.

Oakland Man Gets 78 Months For Drug And Gun Convictions

A convicted felon who was operating a marijuana grow house in San Leandro has been sentenced to more than six years in federal prison for his conviction on illegal drug and gun charges, prosecutors said today.

Vincent Nguyen, a 21-year-old Oakland man, received a 78-month sentence after he pleaded guilty last October to conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, possessing with the intent to distribute marijuana, and being a felon in possession of firearms, according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

Authorities said Nguyen, who had previously been convicted in 2010 for felony possession of marijuana for sale, was arrested on Jan. 10, 2012, after complaints from citizens led to an investigation by San Leandro police and the FBI.

He was later indicted, along with others, by a federal grand jury on June 7, 2012.

Prosecutors said that in his plea agreement, Nguyen admitted that from August 2011 through January 2012, he and others operated a marijuana grow house at 3471 Carrillo Drive in San Leandro.

Nguyen was found in possession of 82 mature marijuana plants, nearly one kilogram of marijuana packaged for sale, a Norinco US 7.62-caliber rifle with a high capacity magazine, a Romak-Romarm 7.62-caliber assault rifle that had been stolen and a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol, according to prosecutors.

In addition, about $10,000 in cash, a 9mm Bryco Arms semiautomatic pistol and more than 100 rounds of various ammunition were found at the grow house and seized by law enforcement officers, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton sentenced Nguyen to three years of supervised release after he serves his 78-month prison term. 

Co-defendants Van Do Nguyen and Loc Huynh were sentenced by Judge Hamilton on Jan. 23 to 72 months and 87 months in prison, respectively.

Bay Point Man Arrested After Shooting At Man Found In His Car

Gunshots rang out in a Bay Point neighborhood early Thursday morning after a resident shot at a man he found in the backseat of his car, a sheriff's spokesman said today.

Charles Settles, 39, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a firearm on a person and discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner after allegedly chasing and shooting at a man he spotted inside his car, Contra Costa County sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

Deputies responded to the 800 block of Steffa Street around 6:20 a.m. Thursday after multiple residents called to report shots fired in the area, Lee said.

Deputies arriving on the scene met with Settles, who admitted to grabbing a gun and firing at an unknown man after seeing him in the backseat of his vehicle.

Lee said the man got out of Settles' car, hopped on a bicycle and started pedaling away. Settles then chased the man on foot and fired the gun at him.

A stray bullet pierced a house in the area but no injuries were reported, Lee said.

The sheriff's office conducted an extensive search of local hospitals and other areas to find the man who was shot at but were unable to locate him.

Settles was taken to county jail in Martinez. He was freed after posting $100,000 bail around 8 p.m., Lee said.

Two Inmates Escape From Solano County Juvenile Hall

Two Solano County Juvenile Hall inmates escaped Thursday afternoon, a sheriff's lieutenant said.

Melvin Mason, 18, of Vallejo, and Kashius Brazeal, 15, of Benicia, escaped the facility at 740 Beck Ave. in Fairfield between 12:45 p.m. and 1 p.m. Thursday, Solano County sheriff's Lt. Brad DeWall said.

They were last seen by jail staff in an enclosed, secured outdoor area, DeWall said.

The method of escape is under investigation, but force was not used and staff members were not injured, DeWall said.

He said sheriff's deputies found discarded clothing on Boynton Avenue in Fairfield.

Mason was being held at Juvenile Hall for attempted burglary and vandalism. He is black, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs 120 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes, DeWall said.

Brazeal was being held for property crimes that include burglary and attempted burglary. He is black, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs 140 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, according to DeWall.

Anyone with information about the escapees is asked to call the Solano County Sheriff's Office at (707) 421-7090.

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