Prosecutors Decline To File Charges Against Man In Suitcase Body Death

San Francisco prosecutors are declining to file charges pending further investigation against a man who was arrested over the weekend in a case involving a dismembered body found inside a suitcase in the city’s South of Market neighborhood.

Mark Andrus, 59, had been arrested Saturday in connection with the grisly discovery last Wednesday afternoon of body parts in a suitcase near the intersection of 11th and Mission streets, police said.

District attorney’s office spokesman Alex Bastian said Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors were “very disturbed” by the facts of the case, but “given the current state of the evidence, there is insufficient evidence to charge this suspect with murder.”

Andrus was detained Friday afternoon after being identified as a person of interest in the case and was booked into jail early Saturday on suspicion of murder.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose office planned to represent Andrus, said “we are relieved” to find out he is not being charged.

Adachi said late Tuesday afternoon that he was headed to the jail to notify Andrus of the district attorney’s decision.

Additional remains were found in a trash can half a block away from the initial crime scene last Wednesday and police said some body parts remained missing.

The medical examiner’s office is working with the DNA lab at the state Department of Justice to try to identify the decedent.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call San Francisco police at (415) 575-4444.

Sheriff’s Deputies Fatally Shoot Man While Serving Restraining Order

Sheriff’s deputies serving a restraining order shot and killed an armed suspect in Antioch on Tuesday afternoon, according to a Contra Costa County sheriff’s spokesman.

The incident occurred at roughly 12:40 p.m. at an apartment complex in the 1000 block of Claudia Court.

Deputies were attempting to serve a domestic violence restraining order/criminal protective order against the apartment’s occupant, who also had a no-bail warrant for his arrest, when he allegedly charged at one of the deputies with some kind of weapon, sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

The deputy opened fire, striking the man, who was later pronounced dead at the scene. The suspect’s name was not immediately being released.

Personnel from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office, the Antioch Police Department and the sheriff’s office are investigating the shooting.

Emeryville Police Shoot, Kill Allegedly Armed Theft Suspect

Emeryville police shot and killed an allegedly armed theft suspect in Oakland on Tuesday afternoon, a police sergeant said.

Investigators suspect the woman ran from a business in the 3800 block of Hollis Street. A caller reported at 12:35 p.m. that the combative woman was stealing from the store and was armed with a gun, Emeryville police Sgt. Fred Dauer said.

Police found a suspect in the 3400 block of Hollis Street in Oakland, just across the city’s border with Emeryville. They saw her with a gun and at least one officer opened fire, Dauer said.

The woman was pronounced dead on the street.

Neighbors who heard the shots and came to the scene said they heard about seven shots, but police declined to say how many shots were fired or how many officers fired their guns. Police also would not reveal if the woman fired her gun.

Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said investigators found the gun the woman was allegedly carrying.

The shooting is being investigated by the Oakland police homicide section, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and Emeryville police.

Dauer said some Emeryville police officers have body cameras but he did not know whether the officers involved in the shooting had them.

Sheriff’s Office Releases Sketch Of Suspect In Weekend Sexual Assault

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office released a sketch Tuesday of a suspect in the sexual assault of a girl at a Cherryland store over the weekend.

The 8-year-old girl was in the toy aisle of the 99 Cents Only store at 20882 Mission Blvd. at about 1:45 p.m. Sunday when a man grabbed her and put his hand in her pants, sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

The man ran from the store after the assault.

The girl and her mother waited at the store for sheriff’s investigators and described the assault. They said the suspect was a black man in his late teens standing 6 feet tall with a light complexion.

He had a flat-top haircut and was wearing a white T-shirt, dark jeans and black tennis shoes, Kelly said.

The girl was taken to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland for a sexual assault exam.

“We’re working diligently to find the suspect,” Kelly said. “This is an egregious crime and we will leave no stone unturned.”

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the assault to contact the sheriff’s special victims unit at (510) 667-3645 or an anonymous tip line at (510) 667-3622.

Authorities Looking For Indecent Exposure Suspect

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office asked on Tuesday for the public’s assistance in locating a man who committed an act of indecent exposure at a Millbrae bus stop Monday night.

Sometime between 10:45 p.m. and 11 p.m. Monday, a woman was waiting at a bus stop in the 600 block of El Camino Real where a man stopped his vehicle and committed a lewd act in the direction of the bus stop, according to officials with the sheriff’s office.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man between the ages of 30 and 40 years old, with a clean shave and short black hair. He was driving a lightly colored four-door sedan with a rear spoiler, and he left the scene headed on northbound El Camino Real.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office North County Detectives at (650) 259-2300. The anonymous tip line can be reached at (800) 547-2700.

Three Major Apartment Fires In A Week Causes Roughly 100 Residents To Be Displaced

A 13-year-old boy who narrowly escaped one of the three major apartment fires this past week in San Francisco is now struggling alongside his family to find affordable housing after their rent-controlled apartment was destroyed in the blaze.

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos said at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday that roughly 100 San Franciscans were displaced following major fires in three neighborhoods over the last week, and that many are unable to find affordable new homes.

Campos said many families are living in temporary shelters and are now searching for an affordable home in a city where rent has reached record highs.

Campos said these families, whose rents stayed low due to rent control, might not be able to find a place to live in San Francisco.

Alessandro Gonzalez, a 13-year-old boy who was home alone when the fire started at his building at the intersection of 22nd and Mission streets last Wednesday evening, managed to escape the fire, but his family now faces homelessness.

Campos said the fire alarms in the building did not sound, but that when the boy heard loud voices outside, he had the good judgment to call 911.

When the boy tried to open the window, however, it wouldn’t open, Campos said.

So the boy broke the window pane, and carrying his family dog “Buddy,” climbed down from the third floor to the second floor, at which point he was able to jump to the firefighters below, according to Campos.

The Board of Supervisors and San Francisco fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White recognized Alessandro on Tuesday for his courage.

Alessandro said Tuesday in front of the Board of Supervisors and the public that he was thankful for the donations coming in from the community and for the bravery exhibited everyday by San Francisco police officers and firefighters.

The fire was reported around 6:45 p.m. last Wednesday and first responders arrived at the building to find flames shooting from its side.

Six people were transported to the hospital from the fire, including a firefighter who suffered dehydration and five civilians who suffered minor to moderate injuries, fire officials said.

Mauricio Orellana was taken from the building and emergency crews rendered aid, but he ultimately died at the scene, police said.

The next night, another major fire occurred in a multi-story apartment building in downtown San Francisco, injuring two people and displacing roughly 23 more.

According to San Francisco fire spokeswoman Talmadge, the fire was reported in the 600 block of Hyde Street near Geary Boulevard around 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

One of the injured victims in the Hyde Street fire may have jumped from the building to escape.

Talmadge could not specify which floor the victim might have jumped from, but said the victim was found injured on the ground near the building.

On Saturday afternoon another major fire was reported, this one in San Francisco’s Alamo Square neighborhood, Talmadge said.

Talmadge said fire crews responded to a report of a fire shortly before 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the 1500 block of McAllister Street near Scott Street, located about a block north of Alamo Square Park.

A firefighter who was battling the blaze was transported to a hospital with minor injuries resulting from smoke inhalation. The firefighter has recovered and no other injuries have been reported, Talmadge said.

The blaze was under control shortly after 2:30 p.m., according to a fire dispatcher.

The three separate fires, which are not considered suspicious in nature, caused more than $11.5 million in estimated damage, according to San Francisco fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge.

City Council Unanimously Votes To Appeal Antitrust Case To Supreme Court

The San Jose City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to appeal its antitrust lawsuit against Major League Baseball to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The city is seeking to pursue a lawsuit that claims MLB violated antitrust laws by allegedly delaying and blocking a possible move by the Oakland A’s to San Jose.

San Jose previously lost two rounds of its battle when federal judges at the trial and appeals court levels dismissed the lawsuit, saying that MLB was protected by a nearly century-old exemption from antitrust laws granted by the Supreme Court to “the baseball business.”

Only the high court or Congress can change that precedent.

Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement, “Litigation was our last recourse, and the City Council knew from the outset that success would likely require a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the 1922 decision that created MLB’s exemption from antitrust laws.

“Every other professional sport in America and every other American industry must abide by antitrust laws. Only Major League Baseball enjoys this antiquated exemption,” Liccardo said.

The appeal was expected. After the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected San Jose’s lawsuit on Jan. 15, Liccardo and the city’s lawyers vowed an appeal.

The Supreme Court grants a hearing in only 75 to 80 of the 10,000 appeals it receives each year, according to the court.

If the panel declines to take up San Jose’s case, then last month’s ruling by the 9th Circuit will be become the final decision.

The city’s lawsuit claims MLB’s constitution and actions violate antitrust laws in two ways.

One is the territorial rights rule, under which the San Francisco Giants club has the right to block an A’s move to the South Bay and can be overridden only by a three-fourths vote of all clubs.

The second is alleged stalling by an MLB relocation committee assigned to study a possible move.

When the appeals court ruled on Jan. 15, MLB Commissioner-Elect Rob Manfred said, “It’s important that we prevailed in the litigation because the exemption has been very important to the way we’ve done business.” Manfred became commissioner on Jan. 25.

Liccardo’s spokeswoman Michelle McGurk noted that San Jose taxpayers are not paying for the appeal because the city’s attorneys, from the law firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy in Burlingame, are working on a contingency basis and will be paid only if San Jose wins.

Appeals Court Appears Skeptical Of Oakland’s Bid To Challenge Forfeiture Of Dispensary Premises

A federal appeals court panel appeared skeptical Tuesday of the city of Oakland’s attempt to block the closure of a medical marijuana dispensary that describes itself as the nation’s largest.

Oakland is seeking the right to pursue a lawsuit that would challenge a U.S. Justice Department bid for civil forfeiture of the property occupied by the Harborside Health Center.

The city is asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court judge’s dismissal of its lawsuit and to allow its challenge to go to trial.

But a three-judge appeals panel, during a 45-minute hearing in San Francisco, seemed to favor the Justice Department’s argument that Oakland had no legal standing to challenge U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag’s decision to file a forfeiture lawsuit.

Circuit Judge Richard Tallman said the forfeiture action appeared to be within Haag’s discretionary authority.

The panel took the case under consideration after the hearing and has no deadline for issuing a decision.

Harborside says it is the nation’s largest dispensary, serving 150,000 registered medical marijuana patients in its large Oakland store at 1840 Embarcadero and in a smaller branch in San Jose.

The center has a permit from the city to operate in connection with the state’s voter-approved Compassionate Use Act, which allows seriously ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes.

Federal laws criminalizing the drug make no exception for state medical marijuana laws, however.

At the time she filed the forfeiture lawsuit in July 2012, Haag called Harborside a “superstore” and said the action was part of an initiative to crack down on large-scale commercial operations that allegedly abuse the state law.

Oakland filed a separate federal lawsuit challenging the action three months later.

It claims the forfeiture lawsuit was filed too late because Harborside has operated since 2006 without federal or state interference.

It also contends shuttering Harborside would cost the city tax revenue and endanger public health and safety by preventing patients from obtaining marijuana or driving them to black market.

“We want you to preserve our regulatory scheme,” Cedric Chao, a lawyer representing Oakland, argued to the panel.

In 2013, U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James dismissed Oakland’s lawsuit, but put the forfeiture case on hold while the city appeals, thus allowing Harborside to remain open for the time being.

Attorney For Former Raiders Scouts Alleges Age Discrimination

An attorney for two former Oakland Raiders scouts told jurors Tuesday that they should award the scouts a total of more than $3 million in damages, alleging that the football team engaged in age discrimination when it fired them three years ago.

In her closing argument in an Alameda County Superior Court lawsuit filed against the Raiders by veteran scouts Bruce Kebric and Jon Kingdon, attorney Barbara Lawless asserted that the team’s general manager, Reggie McKenzie, fired them on May 1, 2012, because McKenzie and owner Mark Davis wanted to get rid of older people and bring in younger people.

Davis took over as the Raiders’ owner in October 2011 after the death of his father Al Davis, the team’s longtime leader. He hired McKenzie as general manager on Jan. 6, 2012.

At the time the veteran scouts were fired, Kingdon was 59 and Kebric was 68. Kebric is a member of the scouting hall of fame. Both men had more than 30 years of experience as scouts.

She alleged that, “Age was the motivating factor in firing them,” citing comments she said McKenzie and former head coach Dennis Allen made favoring younger employees. Allen, who was 39 when he was hired on Jan. 24, 2012, was the youngest head coach in the National Football League at the time.

But the Raiders’ lawyer, David Reis, said, “This case is not about age discrimination because no one made decisions because of age.”

Reis said when McKenzie testified in the case he vehemently denied that age was a factor in his decision to fire Kingdon and Kebric.

In fact, Reis said McKenzie retained many older people in the scouting department and other departments and the average age of full-time employees in the scouting department declined by only a fraction, from 42.66 to 42.06, after Kingdon and Kebric were fired.

Reis denied that McKenzie and Davis made any direct comments.

Lawless said Kebric should be awarded $480,000 for lost wages since the time of his firing and more than $1 million in additional earnings he would have had if he could have worked until age 73.

She said Kingdon, because he is younger, should get about $430,000 for lost wages and more than $1.5 million in lost future earnings if he could have continued until age 73.

Lawless said both men should also be awarded punitive damages and damages for emotional distress but didn’t specify an amount.

Jurors will begin deliberating this morning.

One Injured, Five Displaced By Morning Residential Fire

A residential fire just outside of Santa Cruz sent one man to the hospital with injuries from first-degree burns and smoke inhalation Tuesday morning, according to fire officials.

Mike DeMars, a spokesman for the Central Fire Protection District, said the injured man and four other residents were displaced by the fire.

The American Red Cross was called to assist the residents, he said.

The incident was reported at 9:53 a.m. in the 3500 block of Mission Drive. When fire crews arrived on scene they found a two-story home with two garages on fire.

Three residents in the home had heard a “crackling” sound and the smell of smoke alerted them to the fire, he said.

“We had one crew cutting a vent hole on the roof, and when they did flames shot out about 20 feet,” DeMars said.

Due to the extent of the flames that crew had move back and get off the roof, according to DeMars.

The fire was concentrated in a concealed attic space and was under control about two hours later, DeMars said.

Investigators determined that the fire started in a cluttered area on the exterior of the home, but they have not yet been able to verify a cause due to conflicting information received from the five residents.

“There was a lot of debris in the area,” DeMars said. “We know it started there, we just don’t know how.”

Smoke alarms were installed in the home but their batteries were removed, he said.

The Santa Cruz Fire Department reportedly also assisted in the incident and provided a fire truck equipped with a ladder, which was particularly helpful since Central Fire Protection District’s ladder truck is undergoing maintenance, DeMars said.

The Aptos-La Selva Fire District also assisted, according to DeMars.

CHP Stops 4 Drivers Saturday For Sideshows, Street Racing In Oakland, Emeryville

California Highway Patrol officers chased a driver from a sideshow in East Oakland across the city to the port, where he was arrested early Saturday morning, CHP officials said Tuesday.

It was a long morning of sideshows, illegal auto stunt shows and drag racing in the East Bay. Two other drivers were arrested after they trailed the high-speed pursuit and another driver was later arrested for drag racing along Interstate Highway 80 in Emeryville, CHP officials said.

A CHP helicopter first spotted a sideshow in the 5400 block of International Boulevard at about 1 a.m., noting a red Ford Mustang leaving the area heading toward Interstate Highway 880, CHP officials said.

Officers tried to pull the Mustang over, but it sped away with CHP officers in pursuit at speeds of more than 100 mph.

Eventually the Mustang driver exited the highway at the Seventh Street off-ramp in West Oakland, near the port. The driver tried to get back on the highway in the other direction but spun out, according to the CHP.

The Mustang’s occupants surrendered to CHP officers.

The driver was identified as 26-year-old Wais Sakhizada of Fremont and booked into jail on suspicion of felony evading police, resisting arrest, driving on a suspended license and outstanding warrants. The Mustang was impounded.

While pursuing the driver along the highway, the officers noticed two other cars, a black Audi A6 and a white Chevrolet S-10, behind them trying to keep up with the pursuit. They were stopped where the chase ended in West Oakland and the drivers of both cars were arrested.

The driver of the Audi was identified as Palman Nasiri, 21, of Tracy. He was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting in a speed contest; aiding and abetting in a sideshow; misuse of dealer plates; and habitually driving on a suspended license, CHP officials said. The Audi was impounded.

The Chevrolet driver, identified as Howard Schoyer, 19, of Castro Valley, was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed illegal knife and possession of drug paraphernalia, CHP officials said.

A few hours later CHP officers received word of more illegal car activity — this time drag racing on Interstate Highway 80 near the Powell Street exit in Emeryville.

A black Chevrolet Camaro, a Ford Mustang and a Chevrolet Corvette were racing at speeds exceeding 100 mph along the eastbound highway.

CHP officers only managed to stop the Camaro and arrested the driver, identified as 20-year-old Jose Huerta-Lara, on suspicion of participating in a speed contest, driving on a suspended license and other traffic offenses. He was cited and released but his Camaro was impounded, CHP officials said.

Police Release Sketch Of Suspect In Wiz Khalifa Concert Shooting

A sketch of a suspect was released by police Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a man backstage at a Wiz Khalifa and Young Jeezy concert in Mountain View last August.

Police provided two versions of the sketch, one where the suspect has hair on his head but no facial hair and another where the suspect has no hair but large sideburns.

Investigators have few leads on the killer and are asking for anyone who recognizes the man in the sketches to contact Mountain View police.

The man is believed to be responsible for the fatal shooting of Eric Johnson, a 38-year-old Oakland man, backstage at the Shoreline Amphitheatre just after 11 p.m. on Aug. 22, police said.

In investigating the crime, police searched the tour bus for concert opener Young Jeezy, arresting him and five others on suspicion of possessing an illegal assault weapon. They were later charged in Orange County in connection with the weapon.

However, Young Jeezy and his associates have not been implicated in the shooting.

Anyone with information about the case has been asked to call Mountain View police at (650) 903-6298 or a tip line at (650) 903-6298.

Police Seek Man Who Exposed Himself To Teen, Knocked Out Her Boyfriend

Palo Alto police asked on Tuesday for the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in an assault that occurred in the Baylands Nature Preserve last month.

The incident was reported at 2:51 p.m. on Jan. 21 after a man reportedly exposed his penis to a teenage woman. Her boyfriend attempted to call the police on his cellphone and was repeatedly punched in the face.

The victim attempted to defend himself but briefly lost consciousness during the scuffle. He suffered minor injuries, including bruising to one of his hands, and was transported to a hospital for treatment.

The woman did not participate in the fight and was not injured.

The suspect is described as a man of Hispanic or Pacific Islander descent who is roughly 20 to 25 years old. He is roughly 5 feet 7 inches tall with a heavy build, short black hair and had an unshaven face.

Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call dispatch at (650) 329-2413.

Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] They can also be texted or called in to (650) 383-8984 or reported through Police Department’s free mobile app.

Mission District Fire That Killed Man Caused $8.6m In Damage

A four-alarm fire that killed a 40-year-old man and injured six other people last week resulted in more than $8.6 million in damage at three buildings in San Francisco’s Mission District, a fire spokeswoman said Tuesday.

San Francisco resident Mauricio Orellana was the only person who died in the fire at 22nd and Mission streets last Wednesday evening, according to the medical examiner’s office.

San Francisco fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said the property where Orellana died was the one most impacted by the fire and consisted of more than 40 apartments, offices and businesses.

The fire was reported around 6:45 p.m. last Wednesday and first responders arrived at the building to find flames shooting from its side.

Six people were transported to the hospital from the fire, including a firefighter who suffered dehydration and five civilians who suffered minor to moderate injuries, fire officials said.

Orellana was taken from the building and emergency crews rendered aid, but he ultimately died at the scene, police said.

Talmadge said the building was all but completely destroyed. The building sustained an estimated $4.5 million in damage along with $4 million in damage to its contents.

She said the first two floors of the three-story building contained businesses and offices while the entire top floor contained apartments.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation and could take weeks to determine, police and fire officials said that it does not appear foul play or arson played a factor in the fire.

However, fire officials said investigators are looking into reports from residents that fire escapes were blocked and fire alarms in the building malfunctioned, complicating evacuations.

Two neighboring buildings also sustained minor damage in the blaze. One building in the 2500 block of Mission Street sustained about $100,000 in water damage while another building in the 3200 block of 22nd Street sustained about $15,000 in minor structural damage, according to Talmadge

At least 40 residents of the building stayed at an American Red Cross shelter on the City College of San Francisco campus at 22nd and Bartlett streets following the fire, according to police.

Orellana’s niece, Sandra Orellana, created a memorial page on GoFundMe.com to raise money for her uncle’s funeral and burial, saying her family was having difficulty affording the expenses.

The online fundraising site can be viewed at http://www.gofundme.com/l62rvo.

Firefighter Suffered Smoke Inhalation At Alamo Square Blaze Saturday

A firefighter suffered smoke inhalation battling a fire that damaged three buildings in San Francisco’s Alamo Square neighborhood Saturday afternoon, a fire spokeswoman said Tuesday.

San Francisco fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said fire crews responded to a report of a fire shortly before 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the 1500 block of McAllister Street near Scott Street, located about a block north of Alamo Square Park.

A firefighter who was battling the blaze was transported to a hospital with minor injuries resulting from smoke inhalation. The firefighter has recovered and no other injuries have been reported, Talmadge said.

The blaze was under control shortly after 2:30 p.m., according to a fire dispatcher.

Talmadge said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but that it does not appear suspicious.

She said the main property exposed to the fire sustained an estimated $500,000 in damage to the building and $100,000 in damage to its contents.

A nearby building on Scott Street also exposed to the blaze sustained $150,000 in structural damage and $50,000 in damage to its contents. A third building on McAllister Street sustained $75,000 in structural damage and content damage of $20,000, Talmadge said.

Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Skies will be partly cloudy today with a chance of patchy fog in the morning and highs in the upper 50s. Winds will be from the southwest and could reach 5 to 15 mph.

Skies will be mostly cloudy tonight, and lows could dip into the lower 50s. Winds could reach 10 to 20 mph.

Thursday, skies will be mostly cloudy, with a chance of rain. Highs will be in the lower 60s and south winds could reach 10 to 20 mph.