A Fisherman’s Wharf souvenir shop worker accused of fatally shooting two employees at a neighboring business last month pleaded not guilty to the charges in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday morning.
Hong Ri Wu, 56, of San Francisco, allegedly shot Feng Ping Ou, a 30-year-old woman, and Qiong Han Chu, a 30-year-old man, inside the souvenir and luggage shop where they worked at 269 Jefferson St. at about 8:20 p.m. on Jan. 30, according to police.
Wu was arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday morning on two counts of murder, with special allegations of firearm use and multiple murders. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Wu’s attorney, Kleigh Hathaway of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, said outside of court after the hearing that Wu is being held under observation in county jail because “they believe he’s a danger to himself.”
Police said Wu, who worked at a nearby competing store and knew Chu and Ou, walked into their store and shot them. The victims, both San Francisco residents, died inside the store.
A gun believed to be the murder weapon was recovered at the scene, police said.
Investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a rivalry between the two stores, which sold similar items.
Several of the victims’ family members came to court for Tuesday’s brief hearing but did not speak to reporters afterward.
Wu’s next court appearance won’t happen until April 5 while the prosecution and defense deal with “a lot of complicated issues” in the case, including the possible need for translators, Judge Samuel Feng said.
Both Wu and the two victims are Chinese-American, and Wu required a translator at Tuesday morning’s hearing.