Tuesday Morning News Roundup
Prosecutors Dismiss Murder Charge In 2013 Fatal Shooting
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office on Monday dismissed a murder charge against an Oakland man who had been charged in the fatal shooting of another man in the Sobrante Park district in East Oakland last October.
Eric Lockhart, 22, was accused of fatally shooting 52-year-old Trent Prater in the 10600 block of Topanga Drive at about 7:20 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2013, and also was charged with arson because authorities alleged that he set fire to the van he allegedly used to flee the scene of the shooting.
But prosecutor Chris Lamiero asked Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Delucchi to dismiss both charges Monday and the judge agreed.
Lockhart then pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact to a felony and will get a term of three years in state prison when Delucchi formally sentences him on Oct. 28.
Lamiero declined to comment on the case after Lockhart’s hearing and District Attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick wasn’t available for comment.
Lockhart was arrested on Dec. 17, more than two months after Prater was killed.
Fraud Suspect Arrested, May Be Wanted For Oklahoma Sex Crime
Following an hours-long search, Palo Alto police have arrested a 36-year-old man suspected of fraud and may be connected with an Oklahoma sex crime against a juvenile.
As of about 7 p.m. Monday, police were looking yard-to-yard for the suspect in an area near Johnson Park bordered by Cowper Street, Everett Avenue, Middlefield Road and Lytton Avenue with the assistance of three K-9 units, police said.
The suspect had fled on foot from authorities and was arrested as of about 10 p.m., according to police.
Police had a warrant for his arrest and did not believe he was armed.
Police have not released the suspect’s name and are working to confirm if he is wanted for the Oklahoma sex crime.
Residents in the area were notified of the search by phone, according to police.
String Of Suspected Arsons Caused $3m In Damage, Suspects Due In Court Tuesday
A series of seven suspicious fires in Alameda early Sunday morning caused an estimated $3 million in damage, fire officials said Monday.
Two men have been arrested in the string of suspected arsons and are scheduled to appear in Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland this afternoon.
They were identified on Monday morning as 27-year-old Stephen Petersen, of Alameda, and 22-year-old Andrew Gutierrez, a transient, police said. Petersen is being held in Santa Rita Jail on $750,000 bail and Gutierrez is being held on $1 million bail, according to jail records.
The fires damaged or destroyed five businesses on Park Street and displaced multiple residents from their homes, according to Alameda Fire Chief Michael D’Orazi.
The most significant damage was in the 1600 block of Park Street, where firefighters found five businesses and multiple vehicles burning when they arrived shortly after 4 a.m., according to the fire department.
The fire caused $2.6 million in damage.
About two hours earlier, at 2:22 a.m., fire crews were dispatched to the 2200 block of San Antonio Avenue to a residential and vehicle fire that spread to a neighboring home.
That fire caused about $300,000 in damage, heavily damaging one home and causing minor damage to a neighboring residence before firefighters controlled it at about 3:14 a.m. A vehicle was also found burning nearby at about 2:30 a.m.
An earlier house fire was reported in the 1100 block of Regent Street at 1:39 a.m., which caused $100,000 in damage to the rear of the house including one room and the attic before firefighters knocked it down at about 2 a.m.
There were multiple other fires to garbage containers in the area during that time period. One was reported burning at about 1 a.m. in the 1300 block of Regent Street, another was found burning in the 200 block of Encinal Avenue at about 3:29 a.m., and a third was found burning at 4:39 a.m. in the 1500 block of Park Street.
Firefighters also responded to reports of smoke in the 1100 block of Willow Street but were unable to locate the source of the smell.
Berkeley and Oakland fire crews also assisted in battling the fires, which also included a garbage container blaze at 4:39 a.m. in the 1500 block of Park Street.
The Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda County fire departments assisted in battling the blazes.
Court Workers Authorize Strike Due To Unfavorable Negotiations Over Contracts
San Francisco court workers voted Monday evening to authorize a strike due to unfavorable negotiations over their contracts with court management.
Service Employees International Union Local 1021 members had from Wednesday to Monday to cast their ballots, which resulted in a 91.3 percent vote announced Monday evening in favor for a strike, union organizer Steve Stallone said.
There has been no date set for the strike but it can happen at any time, Stallone said.
Dozens of court workers held a rally at the city’s Civic Center Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon aimed at Michael Yuen, court executive officer for the San Francisco Superior Court.
Yuen manages 550 employees, oversees a $95 million budget and implements policies and procedures at the court, according to the Superior Court website.
Court workers are asking for a 3 to 3.5 percent increase in wages but court management has not offered a proposed wage in response, Stallone said.
In 2012, the city’s justice system came to a halt when court workers went on strike after court management announced a 5 percent decrease in wages.
Man Pleads Not Guilty In Fatal Shooting Of Another Man Last Year
A 23-year-old man pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge stemming from the fatal shooting of another man in West Oakland last December.
Isaiah Lowery is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Dec. 15 for a pretrial hearing.
Lowery is charged in the shooting death of 26-year-old Aubert Gholston near Eighth and Campbell streets at about 11:15 a.m. on Dec. 27, 2013.
Foul Play Not Suspected In American Canyon Woman’s Death
Foul play is not suspected in connection with the death of an American Canyon woman whose body was discovered on the shores of San Pablo Bay in Rodeo on Saturday, East Bay Regional Parks District police said Monday.
Cynthia Andrews, 58, was found dead around 9:45 a.m. at Lone Tree Point, where her body had apparently washed ashore, according to police.
Maritime Academy police in Vallejo found Andrews’s SUV on Sunday near the Carquinez Bridge, park district police Sgt. Tyrone Davis said.
Her cause of death has not yet been determined, he said.
Emergency responders arrived on the scene and the body was recovered.
Anyone with information about this case or who saw anything suspicious in the area is asked to call East Bay Regional Parks District police Detective Gary Castaneda at (510) 690-6555.
Police Searching Yard-To-Yard For Fraud Suspect Who Fled On Foot
Palo Alto police are searching yard-to-yard for a fraud suspect near Johnson Park as of Monday evening.
As of about 7 p.m., police were looking for the suspect who fled on foot from authorities, police.
Officers are looking for the suspect in an area bordered by Cowper Street, Everett Avenue, Middlefield Road and Lytton Avenue, according to police.
The suspect is described as a 36-year-old black man standing about 5 feet 7 inches tall with a medium build. He was last seen wearing a brown shirt and black pants and carrying a construction helmet.
Police have a warrant for his arrest and do not believe he is armed.
Residents in the area where the search is taking place have been notified by phone, police said.
Anyone who believes they see someone matching the suspect’s description is asked to call 911.
Elderly Man Suffering From Dementia Missing Since Sunday Evening
Fairfield police are seeking the public’s help in locating an elderly man suffering from dementia missing since Sunday evening.
Joe Ford, 71, was last seen near NorthBay Medical Center around 7:45 p.m. Sunday, police said.
He is described as a black man last seen wearing a white jacket, blue jeans and sunglasses, according to police.
Ford is known to frequent bars and liquor stores, police said.
Anyone with information on Ford’s whereabouts is asked to call Fairfield police at (707) 428-7300.
Family Of Girl Killed By Car Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The family of a Novato girl who was killed by a vehicle while riding her bicycle two years ago has settled a suit against the City of Novato and the driver for $1.12 million, the family’s attorney said Monday.
Tait North America, the employer of the driver who struck 12-year-old Hailey Ratliff on Sept. 27, 2012, and another defendant will pay $800,000, and the City of Novato will pay $320,000, San Francisco attorney Paul Matiasic said.
The City of Novato said Monday all but $30,000 of the $320,000 will be paid by insurance, and the city has not assumed any liability.
The Ratliff family claimed the driver, Samuel Lee Boulware Jr. of Houston, Texas, was recklessly speeding and inattentive when his rented GMC Yukon collided with Hailey on Novato Boulevard as she rode home from school, Matiasic said.
The wrongful death lawsuit claimed the City failed to trim overgrown roadside vegetation that obscured a pedestrian crossing and speed limit signs in the area.
The evidence uncovered in the lawsuit revealed Boulware was driving in excess of 65 mph despite the 45 mph speed limit in Novato city limits, Matiasic said. The speed limit decreases to 25 mph, just east of the accident site, when children are present, Matiasic said.
Novato police said Ratliff failed to yield the right-of-way to the eastbound GMC Yukon. Police said their conclusion was based on witnesses’ interviews, skid analysis, toxicology tests and advanced accident reconstruction tests.
Matiasic said residents in the area of the crash west of San Marin High School raised concerns before the collision about speeding motorists entering Novato from more rural stretches of the road west of city limits.
As part of the settlement, the City of Novato agreed to evaluate engineering and roadway conditions of that stretch of Novato Boulevard, Matiasic said.
The City of Novato said it “continues to maintain that circumstances other than the design and condition of the roadway in the area where Hailey was struck were the primary factors causing the accident.”
The City said, however that continued defense costs at trial would exceed the $30,000 non-insured portion of the settlement.
Hailey’s parents, Charles and Angela Ratliff, said in a statement, “It is our hope that Novato’s agreement to evaluate the engineering and roadway conditions will lead to a safer street for all of Novato’s residents, particularly children, so that no family has to endure the lasting pain of losing a child.”
Jury Rejects Journalist’s Claim Of Retaliation Arrest At Bart Protest
A federal jury in San Francisco on Monday rejected a journalist’s claim that he was unfairly arrested during a 2011 protest at a BART station in retaliation for articles critical of the transit agency.
David Morse, a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, sued now-retired BART Deputy Police Chief Dan Hartwig in 2012 to challenge his arrest during a protest at the Powell Street station in San Francisco on Sept. 8, 2011.
Hartwig, the supervising officer during the incident, ordered Morse to be arrested for allegedly blocking a fare gate in violation of a state law that prohibits interference with the safe and efficient operation of a railroad.
Morse had written a series of articles criticizing BART police in the previous two-and-a-half years, beginning at the time of the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant III by then-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle at an Oakland station on New Year’s Day in 2009.
He claimed he was unconstitutionally targeted for arrest because he had exercised his right of free speech as a journalist.
Hartwig, who was represented in the case by BART lawyers, did not dispute that Morse is a journalist, but claimed he was breaking the law by blocking the fare gate along with other protesters.
After four days of trial and one day of deliberation, a seven-member civil jury in the court of U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley unanimously returned a verdict exonerating Hartwig.
Morse’s lawyer, Dan Siegel, said, “We’re disappointed,” but said no decision has been made on whether Morse will appeal.
BART attorney Dale Allen said, “There was no evidence of any animosity going from Deputy Chief Hartwig toward David Morse.”
The demonstration was aimed at protesting Grant’s death, the fatal shooting of Charles Hill by a BART officer in San Francisco in 2011, and BART’s decision to cut off cellphone service during previous demonstrations.
After being arrested, Morse was handcuffed, detained at a police substation for more than two hours and then cited and released. A judge dismissed charges against him nine months later.
In a pretrial ruling in February, Corley dismissed two other claims in which Morse alleged he was unlawfully arrested and falsely imprisoned.
Corley said Hartwig had probable cause for the arrest because of the “undisputed fact” that Morse “was in the group of protestors that caused BART patrons to be diverted on their way to the fare gates.”
But Corley said a jury should decide whether Hartwig had an improper, retaliatory motive for ordering the arrest.
Rep. Lee Says Federal Program Will Help Fight Crime In East Bay
Ongoing efforts to reduce high crime rates in Oakland and Richmond will be helped by a new federal initiative that was announced Monday by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said.
Speaking at a news conference Monday outside the federal building in Oakland, Lee said the “Violence Reduction Network” will enhance existing partnerships by federal and local officials to fight crime.
Lee said the area that encompasses Oakland and Richmond is only one of five in the country to be chosen to participate in the two-year pilot program.
The others are Chicago, Detroit, Camden, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware.
She said the sites were chosen because they have violent crime rates above the national average, represent diverse geographic locations and display a readiness to participate in innovative methods in crime reduction.
Lee said each of the five locations will be assigned a “strategic liaison” to coordinate efforts between local law enforcement and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Joining Lee at the news conference, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said Oakland is on track to have its lowest number of homicides since 1999 but she welcomes the additional federal help because previous federal assistance helped bring about the arrest of suspects in several high-profile crimes, such as the fatal shooting of 23-month-old Hiram Lawrence Jr. in 2011.
The mayor said federal officials “will focus on particularly heinous crimes.”
Lee said the new program includes a variety of strategies to fight crime, not just extra police officers.
Other strategies include gun control and community programs that give young people health and productive options, Lee said.
Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, who didn’t attend the news conference, said in a statement that the Violence Reduction Network “is the kind of forward thinking strategy that will improve our ability to combat violent crime.”
In announcing the program in Washington, D.C., Holder said the program is needed because in some cities “crime rates have remained stubbornly, unacceptably high.”
Holder said, “There are still far too many places where social ills like poverty, unemployment and widespread lack of opportunity continue to trap people in lives of crime and incarceration, conditions that give rise to tense and often tragic circumstances in which systemic violence can easily take root.”
Foster City Man Sued By Sec For Alleged Fraud In Atm Investment Business
A Foster City man who faces criminal charges in state court for an alleged ATM investment scheme was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday in a related civil lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco.
Michael Ferguson, 44, is accused in the lawsuit of fraudulently obtaining more than $12 million from 160 people who invested between 2005 and 2013 in a business that operated private automated teller machines in shopping malls around the country.
Separately, Ferguson was charged by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in March with nine criminal felonies, including securities fraud, burglary and grand theft.
He was recently freed from jail while awaiting trial on those charges, according to the SEC.
The SEC’s civil lawsuit names both Ferguson and his company, Transactions Unlimited, as defendants. The company operated under the name of ATM Plus and was based in San Francisco.
The lawsuit alleges that Ferguson ran the business as a so-called Ponzi scheme, in which investors were paid with funds from new investors even after company earnings dried up in 2011.
The lawsuit says that investors eventually received back about $10 million of their funds and alleges that Ferguson pocketed about $900,000 from the business.
SEC attorney Robert Durham said investors are believed to have lost about $2 million, but said that under federal law, Ferguson could be liable for the entire $12 million gained from the alleged fraud.
The lawsuit alleges Ferguson made false and misleading statements to investors and fabricated account statements. He is also accused of showing one investor a forged contract that allegedly falsely showed that ATM Plus had recently purchased 22 ATMs.
Many of the investors were from the Bay Area, the SEC said.
The lawsuit ask for court orders requiring Ferguson to cease the alleged violations of securities law, to forfeit his alleged ill-gotten gains and to pay civil penalties.
No court dates have been set thus far in the case.
Petaluma Murder Suspect Hangs Self In County Jail
A Petaluma murder suspect has been identified as the Sonoma County Jail inmate who apparently committed suicide Sunday morning, a county sheriff’s sergeant said.
The inmate was identified as 37-year-old Mikol Wayne Stewart of Santa Rosa. He was discovered unresponsive hanging in his cell around 10:20 a.m. and was pronounced dead by medical personnel at 10:35 a.m., sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said.
Correctional deputies cut Stewart down and gave first aid until fire and ambulance personnel arrived, sheriff’s officials said.
An autopsy determined the death was consistent with suicide by hanging, Focha said.
Petaluma police arrested Stewart on Sept. 11 for the shooting death of 49-year-old Arturo Hinojosa Jr., of Petaluma, in a residence in the 100 block of Suncrest Hill Drive on Sept. 10.
Stewart was charged with first-degree murder, burglary and being armed with a .45-caliber gun. He was scheduled to enter a plea on Thursday.
Stewart had prior convictions for felony and misdemeanor spousal batteries and misdemeanor DUIs, according to Sonoma County Superior Court records.
Fire In Senior Housing Complex Started After Clothes Ignited By Floor Heater
A fire that set off the sprinkler system and damaged multiple apartments in a senior housing complex in Richmond Saturday night was apparently caused by clothes ignited by a floor heater, a fire battalion chief said Monday.
The blaze was reported around 10:30 p.m. at a senior housing complex in the 2400 block of Nevin Avenue, according to Richmond fire officials.
Crews were able to contain the fire to a single apartment on the building’s fourth floor, but the sprinkler system that activated due to the fire caused water damage in several apartments, fire Battalion Chief Oscar Jones said.
One person was transported to a hospital for smoke inhalation, fire officials said.
More than a dozen residents were evacuated and about as many were temporarily displaced, Jones said.
The American Red Cross was summoned to provide housing assistance.
He said the fire appears to have started when some clothing next to a floor heater in a fourth-floor apartment caught fire.
Residents picked up the clothes and put them in a bathtub, inadvertently lighting a shower curtain ablaze in the process, Jones said.
A damage estimate from the fire was not yet available as of Monday afternoon.
Students Injured In P.E. Class Collision
Two students were injured when they ran into each other during a physical education class at Park Middle School in Antioch on Monday morning, according to school district and fire officials.
The two sixth-grade boys were “running at full speed” when they collided during a class around 9:20 a.m., according to Antioch Unified School District Superintendent Donald Gill.
One of the boys suffered traumatic injuries and was in and out of consciousness and unable to answer questions. He was taken to University of California at Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, along with a parent, Gill said.
The second student went to a local emergency room for medical evaluation.
Both boys have since been released.
Police Seeking Suspect In Weekend Shooting
Santa Clara police are looking for a man suspected of shooting another man in a parking lot early Sunday, a police lieutenant said.
At 1:15 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a report of a shot fired in a parking lot behind a small shopping mall on Newhall Street near Washington Street, Santa Clara police Lt. Kurt Clarke said.
Officers located a man suffering from at least one gunshot wound. He was transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, Clarke said.
Investigators do not have much information about the shooting but know that the suspect is a man, Clarke said.
The Police Department is asking anyone with information about the case to contact Detective Sgt. Steve Hoesing at (408) 615-4814. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the department’s tip line at (408) 241-9495.
Students Sent Home After Bomb Threat At Vanden High School
The Fairfield police and fire departments responded to a bomb threat at Vanden High School in Fairfield on Monday afternoon, a police officer said.
School staff notified police at 1:10 p.m. about a specific bomb threat, police Officer Kathryn McCormick said.
Police and firefighters worked with the Travis Unified School District to evacuate the school at 2951 Markley Lane and students were sent home, McCormick said.
An explosive device was not found and the campus reopened to staff around 3:30 p.m., McCormick said.
Police are still investigating the incident, she said.
32 Shots Fired At Carjacking Suspect Who Crashed In Fidi Thursday
Six San Francisco police officers fired 32 times at a carjacking suspect who crashed in the city’s Financial District and turned a gun on the officers after a high-speed chase through three counties early Thursday morning, police Chief Greg Suhr said Monday afternoon.
At a community meeting to release information about the shooting, Suhr said he could not yet identify the suspect pending notification of his family but said that he was a 34-year-old East Bay resident with prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a firearm and narcotics possession.
The suspect first came to the attention of Richmond police when a woman reported that a man had tried to kidnap her as she was driving to work in her white Cadillac Escalade at 4:55 a.m. Thursday, Suhr said.
She fled the car and the suspect drove away onto Interstate Highway 580 with California Highway Patrol officers in pursuit, Suhr said. They pursued him across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, onto southbound U.S. Highway 101 and then over the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco police joined the pursuit as the suspect drove onto city streets until officers lost sight of the Escalade near Bush and Taylor streets.
Minutes later at 5:54 a.m., police received reports of a crash involving several vehicles nearby, including a white Escalade that had tipped onto its side, police said.
Witnesses reported hearing a “loud bang” and Suhr said that the suspect fired a single shot from a six-shot revolver from the Escalade. A man who had approached the suspect to help after the crash suffered a superficial wound to his chest, but Suhr said it was not clear if he had been struck by a bullet.
The man was close enough to the suspect to taste gunpowder, Suhr said, but the bullet traveled through the roof of the SUV and struck an 11th-story window of a nearby building.
Officers arrived quickly on foot and while waiting for a less-lethal beanbag shotgun weapon to help subdue the suspect, he turned his gun at the officers, prompting six of them to open fire.
Together they fired 32 rounds at the suspect. Suhr did not know how many times the suspect was hit by gunfire, but his wounds were fatal and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The officers who opened fire have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol following an officer-involved shooting. The case is being investigated by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the city’s Office of Citizens Complaints and the Police Department’s homicide and internal affairs units.
If there is no indication that the officers fired improperly, Suhr said they could return to duty sometime next week.
Man Injured In Alleged Gang-Related Shooting Early This Morning
A 31-year-old man is expected to survive after being shot early Monday morning in Salinas in an alleged gang-related dispute, a police commander said.
Police were called at 4:46 a.m. to the area of Santa Rita and East Lamar streets on a report of a man who was shot, Salinas police Cmdr. Henry Gomez said.
The victim was sitting in a vehicle with another person when two males passed by in a separate vehicle and a passenger in it confronted him, police said.
The shooting victim and the other’s car’s passenger exchanged words, got out and started fighting, Gomez said.
The driver of the suspect vehicle exited and fired a shot from a handgun into the victim’s upper midsection, according to Gomez.
The suspects, described as Hispanic males in late teens to early 20s, were last seen driving away in a black vehicle similar to a Honda heading south on Santa Rita Street, police said.
The driver of the victim’s car then drove to the residence of the wounded man’s girlfriend. The victim had requested to go there because he thought he was going to die and wanted to see her, Gomez said.
Officers and emergency responders arrived at the girlfriend’s home and the victim was transported to a Bay Area hospital, where he is expected to survive, police said.
Police believe that the shooting was related to gang activity, Gomez said.
Highway 37 Weeknight Closures Canceled After Weekend Work
Caltrans has canceled the overnight closure of state Highway 37 that was scheduled for Monday night and later this week.
Caltrans crews over the weekend completed major maintenance and paving on Highway 37 between state Highway 29 in Solano County and state Highway 121 in Sonoma County.
Crews were scheduled to finish the work by 5 a.m. Monday but completed it early at 1:30 a.m., Caltrans spokesman Vince Jacala said.
Crews were initially planning to close Highway 37 again between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Monday through Friday this week, but instead will finish the work without full highway closures, Jacala said.
Crews repaved approximately seven miles of eastbound and westbound Highway 37 between Highways 29 and 121 over the past two weekends, Jacala said.
He said about 40,000 motorists use that stretch of Highway 37 daily.
Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Blaze At School Maintenance Shed
Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire in a two-story maintenance shed at a school in Vallejo on Monday morning.
The fire at North Hills Christian School, located at 200 Admiral Callaghan Lane, was reported around 10:45 a.m., Vallejo fire Capt. Kevin Hickey said.
The fire started in a lawn mower and burned a golf cart and wood inside the approximately 500-square-foot shed that is detached from the K-12 school, Hickey said.
Part of the exterior of the second floor of the shed also burned, Hickey said.
Students were evacuated as a precaution and the blaze was controlled in about 30 minutes, according to Hickey.
Thirteen firefighters from four fire stations responded to the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation, Hickey said.
Man Critically Injured In Outer Mission Stabbing Early Sunday
A man was critically injured in a stabbing in San Francisco’s Outer Mission neighborhood early Sunday morning, police said Monday.
The stabbing was reported around 5:30 a.m. Sunday near Mission Street and Geneva Avenue.
The 44-year-old victim was approached by two suspects who allegedly made comments about a gang, then stabbed him in the back, police said.
The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with injuries that are considered life-threatening, according to police.
The suspects fled and remain at large as of Monday. One was described as a Hispanic male believed to be between 15 and 19 years old who was wearing a green shirt and pants and is between 5 feet 5 and 5 feet 9 inches tall, police said.
The second suspect is a Hispanic male believed to be between 17 and 22 years old who wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans and is about 6 feet 1 inch tall, police said.
Anyone with information about the stabbing is encouraged to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with “SFPD” in the message.
Apparent Suicide Caused One Of Two Gas Leak Deaths
The deaths of a father and son found Wednesday after a reported gas leak at an apartment in Mountain View appear to be the result of a suicide and an accident, Mountain View police said Monday.
Authorities found the chemical substances calcium sulfide and sulfuric acid in the apartment that created the byproducts sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas, police said.
The Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office on Monday identified Lian Liu, 53, and his son William, 17, as those found dead Wednesday after a report of a strong gas odor at an apartment complex at 2025 California St. in Mountain View.
At 6:09 p.m. Wednesday, Mountain View police responded to a report of a strong odor of “rotten eggs” in the air around the apartment complex that officers thought smelled like natural gas, police said.
As police began evacuating people from 2025 and 2017 California St., four officers became overpowered by the fumes. They were treated at the scene and released, according to police.
People living at 2035 California St. were told to shelter in place while about 30 to 40 evacuees were transferred to a community center under the care of the American Red Cross throughout the rest of the evening and into Thursday, police said.
The Mountain View Fire Department and a hazardous materials team from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety were summoned to the site to help clear the building at 2025 California St., according to police.
PG&E crews also came to the scene and shut off the natural gas lines to the apartment building, police said.
Sunnyvale’s hazardous materials crew entered an apartment where they discovered the two bodies and the quantities of the chemicals, according to police.
Police spokeswoman Shino Tanaka said investigators concluded that one of the victims died by suicide and the other by accident, but officers are not revealing who killed themselves and who accidentally died.
Lian Liu, who went by the first name of James, was the manager of the popular Milk Pail Market in Mountain View and the brother-in-law of the market’s owner Steve Rasmussen, according to Kai Rasmussen, James’ niece who wrote a Facebook post Friday announcing Liu’s death.
Employees at the Milk Pail Market, located at 2585 California St. in Mountain View, were not immediately available for comment Monday on the deaths.
Evacuations Lifted At Financial District Office Tower
Workers were allowed back inside an office tower in San Francisco’s Financial District on Monday afternoon after an overheated elevator motor sent light smoke into the building’s 29th floor and prompted evacuations, a fire department spokeswoman said.
A fire alarm sounded and crews were called to the Shell Building at 100 Bush St. around 11:15 a.m., San Francisco fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
The building was evacuated as firefighters investigated the source of the smoke, which was determined to be the overheated elevator motor.
The evacuation order was lifted as of 12:30 p.m., according to Talmadge.