Homicides, suspicious deaths, suicide mark violent few days in San Francisco 

click to enlarge Homicides, suicides and suspicious deaths kept San Francisco police busy over the weekend.
  • Homicides, suicides and suspicious deaths kept San Francisco police busy over the weekend.

Three homicides, two suspicious deaths, a suicide involving chemicals that led to an apartment building evacuation, and the inexplicable near-fatal beating of a 94-year-old woman all contributed to an unusually vicious few days in San Francisco.

Police have been “pretty busy” since Friday morning, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said, when they received their first in a string of grim reports: A mysterious shooting inside a Mission district apartment.

The victim was 44-year-old Damon Bruner, who had once been a chef at Doctor’s Lounge in the Excelsior district.

He was found dead in his home in the 900 block of Guerrero Street. Bruner’s death was ruled “suspicious” pending an autopsy, Esparza said.

“It could be a suicide, could be a homicide,” he said.

Early the next morning, police again responded to a shooting in the Mission, this time at 16th and Caledonia streets. After suffering a gunshot to his upper chest about 2:50 a.m., Jose Escobar, 19, of San Francisco, stumbled to Valencia Street, where he collapsed. The gunman fled, Esparza said, and Escobar died at a hospital. A motive for the killing is not known at this time, Esparza said.

Later Saturday, a senseless attack in Chinatown put an elderly woman in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

About 4:45 p.m., police said, the 94-year-old woman was crossing at Stockton and Sacramento streets when a crazed lunatic came up from behind and punched her several times in the head “for no apparent reason.” She fell and possibly fractured her skull.

The suspect, described only as a man in his 50s, had not been arrested as of Monday.

Less than three hours later, someone from outside the Bay Area called police saying their friend was about to commit suicide in North Beach. Police responded to the 1500 block of Powell Street, smelled chemicals at the scene about 7:30 p.m. and found the body of a man in his 20s. Two buildings were evacuated of about 15 people while the Fire Department handled the unspecified toxic chemical, Esparza said.

But the madness wasn’t over Saturday. Just after 11 p.m., officers were called to Fifth and Mission streets in South of Market to check on the welfare of a man inside a vehicle. The man, who has not been identified, had been fatally stabbed in the chest, Esparza said.

Then on Sunday, two people were found dead in the Tenderloin.

Just before 2 a.m., police said, officers responded to a call about a disturbance and found a woman who had been stabbed to death in the 400 block of Eddy Street. The woman also has not been identified.

About eight hours later another police welfare check led to a grisly discovery. The body of William Swiatek, 62, was found with head trauma in the room of a building in the 600 block of O’Farrell Street, police said. The incident also has been ruled “suspicious” pending an autopsy.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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Monday, Sep 29, 2014

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