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Daily SFPD foot patrol coming to Dolores Park following gang-related shooting

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Parkgoers were snapping photos and enjoying the outdoors just hours after three people were shot at Dolores Park on Aug. 3. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Dolores Park will now have San Francisco police foot patrols seven days a week following a gang-related shooting last week that injured three bystanders, according to department officials.

The shooting and new patrols could also give impetus to a plan to better manage the popular park, which has been in the works for months.

Police will not release the specific number of Mission Station officers who will walk through the park at 18th and Dolores streets, but their daily presence is, in part, to reassure the public and prevent violence in the popular gathering spot, said SFPD spokesperson Officer Grace Gatpandan.

“Going forward, we’re gonna have them every day,” Gatpandan said.

No suspects have been arrested in the shooting case, Gatpandan added.

The Aug. 3 shooting, which took place around 3 p.m. near the pedestrian footbridge at the west end of the park, injured three people. All of the victims were taken to a hospital, one with life-threatening injuries. One victim was released, according to Gatpandan, and no update was available on the others.

Soon after the shooting, police announced they are searching for five suspects, but have given few other details about the open investigation.

A department source with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to speak with the media told the San Francisco Examiner that the shooting was gang-related.

Two rival Mission District gangs, the Norteños and Sureños, were firing at each other in the park and injured the three bystanders, according to the source.

The violence in the park follows a recent nearby incident in which police had to shut down several blocks to traffic because of an illegal downhill skateboarding contest July 11. Police said the crowd at the event became violent, and a skateboarder was injured after he collided with an officer, who appeared in video posted online to have stepped in front of the man as he sped down the hill.

“We have to do everything we can to keep Dolores Park safe for families, visitors and neighbors,” Supervisor Supervisor Jeff Sheehy said in a statement after the shooting. “This incident demands a top-to-bottom review of Dolores Park operations and a community process on how to make things better.”

Sheehy’s statement is only the latest step his office has taken to deal with issues in the park. He has been working with neighborhood groups and local business since January to create ways to manage the sheer number of people visiting the park, his aide Bill Barnes said.

“This isn’t like a knee-jerk thing. We’ve been working on this since January,” Barnes said, adding that a community meeting set for Aug. 21, which has no set location yet, will address the issues at the park.

Barnes said the meeting is meant to gather information on what to do about the park, so a concrete plan and budget request can be made. So far, the ideas that have been floated include cameras, gates and community ambassadors similar to those along parts of Market Street.

In the meantime, the park has seemingly returned to normal. On Saturday, there was a screening of “Footloose” in the park.

No incidents of note have occurred in the park since the shooting, Gatpandan said.

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