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Police shoot “fleeing” man in North Beach

San Francisco police shot a man during a foot chase on a busy stretch of Grant Avenue early Saturday morning.

The man remains in life-threatening condition and is in custody, confirmed a spokesperson for the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Police officers were not injured in the incident.

Police reported that the shooting occurred at 12:17 a.m. after two uniformed officers initiated a foot pursuit of the suspect, and that a gun was found at the scene.

A witness at the scene said that he saw the man “fleeing” from at least one officer, and that he heard other bystanders yell “You shot him from behind.”

Minutes after midnight, Giovanni Berber said that he was standing outside of Tope Lounge — located on a block of Grant Avenue lined narrowly with bars and restaurants near Vallejo Street– with his roommate waiting for a Lyft car, when he saw a “bald [man] in black running up and the cop after him” several feet away from Tope Bar.

It is unclear what incident led to the foot chase, and police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Berber said the he heard at least one officer yell ‘Stop!’ before “two to three” shots were fired at the suspect.

Berber said that he immediately crossed the street for safety, and did not see the man fall to the ground, but added that he heard another bystander at the scene yell, “You shot him from the back,” at the officer.

“By the time I look, I see him on the ground, the cop over him,” said Berber, who described the suspect as laying on his chest, with an officer towering over him and commanding a swelling crowd to “back off.”

“People were pulling out their phones to start recording,” he said, adding that several people were standing outside of adjacent bars smoking cigarettes when the shooting occurred, but that the crowd doubled in size immediately afterward.

Berber estimated that the officer was no more than 10 feet behind the suspect when he discharged his weapon. He also said that it was not immediately clear whether or not the suspect was armed.

“Anyone of us could have stopped the guy running,” said Berber. “I would say the cop could have easily tackled him. It wasn’t a super far distance that [the officer] shot him from, it was close range.”

Cell phone video footage shot by another bystander showed the block of Grant Avenue between Green and Vallejo streets cordoned off and lined with about a dozen police and fire vehicles, as responding officers directed onlookers to step back.

Police homicide inspectors will investigate the shooting along with the San Francisco district attorney’s office, the police internal affairs division and the civilian Department of Police Accountability, per City protocol. Police are also required hold a town hall hearing about the shooting within 10 days.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information comes in.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

Laura Waxmann
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Laura Waxmann

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