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Four dead, including suspect, in shooting at UPS facility in Potrero Hill

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Emergency personnel at the scene of a shooting near a UPS facility at 17th and Vermont streets on Wednesday morning. (Sarah Beth Maney/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Four people have died, including the suspect, and at least seven more were injured in a shooting involving UPS employees at the company’s facility in the Potrero Hill neighborhood Wednesday morning.

The shooter is believed to be a UPS employee who police said turned the gun on himself after officers responded to the scene. A source with knowledge of the investigation confirmed the shooter has been identified as Jimmy Lam, and the Examiner witnessed a BMW recovered at the scene by police, which sources said was registered to Lam.

Assistant Chief Toney Chaplin, however, would not identify the shooter at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Late Wednesday night, however, police released the name and age of the suspect.

Jimmy Lam, 38, of San Francisco, was identified as the deceased suspect by the Medical Examiner’s Office, Sgt. Michael Andraychak said in an email.

The shooting was reported around 9 a.m. at the packaging and sorting facility at 320 San Bruno Ave.

Chaplin told reporters at the scene that three victims were killed in the shooting before the suspect turned the gun on himself. Seven other victims were injured, some of whom were injured while fleeing the scene.

Officers in a later sweep of the UPS facility found one injured victim who was hiding, Chaplin said.

The suspect was dressed in a UPS uniform, but authorities have not confirmed whether he was an employee at UPS.

“We do not believe this incident is related to terrorism,” Chaplin said.

While the victims have also not been identified by authorities, Mike Lefiti, a UPS employee, has been identified by multiple news outlets and on his personal Facebook as one of the victims.

“He was my big brother,” wrote Rock Asis on Facebook. Lefiti “always give me ride to skool [sic] and take me everywhere … thank you for everything u [sic] have done for me as I was growing up.”

Mike Lefiti, a UPS employee, has been identified by multiple news outlets and on his personal Facebook as one of the victims. (Courtesy Facebook)

There are 350 employees at the UPS facility in Potrero Hill, and the police are interviewing more than 100 employees to reconstruct what happened, Chaplin said.

Police on Wednesday afternoon were investigating a BMW parked at 16th and Vermont streets that was believed to be related to the shooting.

The license plate of that car is registered to Jimmy Lam, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner.

Jessica Leigh, a 30 year-old San Francisco resident, was on the 22-Fillmore bus at 8:57 a.m. on her way to work when she saw a rush of UPS employees, clad in brown, run toward her bus.

“They were smacking the bus” so it would stop, she said, then boarded, and “yelled at the driver to go.”

Leigh said about 15 employees boarded, and crouched down under the windows. The driver took off, and she “blew through” three other bus stops to get away, Leigh said.

The employees also referenced “Jimmy Lam,” she said.

“They kept saying, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe Jimmy Lam,’” Leigh told the Examiner, adding, “They all relayed the fact that [the shooter] was someone they knew.”

Robert Kim, owner of Action Auto Care located at 2040 17th St. that’s a block from the UPS facility, said that at about 9 a.m. he heard six to eight gunshots and saw UPS drivers running east.

“They’re screaming, ‘Shooter! Shooter!’” Kim said.

“It sounded like a handgun to me,” he continued. “They were shooting really fast, and then next thing I know a mob of UPS drivers are running down 16th Street going east.”

A UPS employee who declined to give his name told the San Francisco Examiner at the scene that someone told him to run out of the building.

“I was in the building when it happened on my floor, but I didn’t see anything,” the employee said.

Two other UPS employees, who also declined to give their names, said they saw the shooter.

“I just saw the guy shooting everybody,” one employee said. “We were all working when it happened.”

Another employee added, “He just came up and just started shooting.”

The Salvation Army, Red Cross and various city agencies offered support to UPS workers and their families near the scene of the shooting.

John McKnight, director of emergency disaster services at the Salvation Army, said the organization had at least six chaplains, who serve as counselors, aiding families of UPS workers and workers themselves with mental health services, food, water and compassion.

“The population we work with is people whose lives are constantly riddled with trauma,” McKnight said.

“But this,” he said, “is unique. It’s unimaginable.”

Mayor Ed Lee expressed his condolences to the victims of the shooting in a statement Wednesday.

“I want to thank our brave officers of the San Francisco Police Department, and our dedicated employees at 911 and San Francisco General Hospital,” he said. “I also want to offer my condolences and thoughts for the individuals and families affected by the senseless act of violence at the UPS facility. We all know the familiar faces of our local UPS drivers and delivery persons. Today’s tragedy will be felt in every community served by these committed employees.”

Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran praised first responders in a statement Wednesday and noted that police and fire personnel participated in “active shooter scenario” training last week.

“Today we mourn for the victims of the tragic incident at the UPS facility,” Halloran said in a statement. “Firefighters and police officers were on the scene within minutes. The incident highlights the necessity for cooperation between fire and police personnel. Just last week, police and fire personnel participated in an ‘active shooter scenario’ training. Today, they put their training into action. ‘Active shooter’ training is invaluable to prepare police officers and firefighters to respond to incidents like today’s.”

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