Dino Montarello was standing behind the counter of his brand new Market Street restaurant Saturday as crowds of Pink Saturday celebrants meandered past. Suddenly, gunshots rang out on the street and, seconds later, a young man burst through the door, blood pouring from his upper leg.
“The kid came running in, yelling, ‘I’m shot! I’m shot!” Montarello said Sunday. “And then I look outside and there’s two more people down on the ground, by the street.”
Montarello said police arrived quickly to tend to the victims, including the young man whose wound was forming a puddle of blood in his entranceway.
“They asked him if he knew who did it,” said Montarello. “The kid said ‘No.’”
A total of five people were hit by gunfire in the 6:15 p.m. shooting near Market and Seventh streets that brought a pause to a weekend of revelry and celebration of gay pride.
Among the wounded were a young man who police said may have been the target of a gang-related dispute, and four male bystanders — a 74-year-old San Franciscan, a 45-year-old man visiting from England, a 20-year-old UC Santa Cruz student, and a 17-year-old El Cerrito boy.
All five were expected to survive, police said.
Montarello, proprietor of Little Joe’s, an Italian restaurant that opened at its new location just three days ago, said he heard at least seven gunshots outside the store.
Across the street, Raul Romero was sitting behind the counter of his cellphone shop Electromania when bullets went whizzing through his window.
“It was kind of scary,” Romero said. “You know, we had people in the store, too,” he said. “Luckily nobody got hit.”
When Romero emerged from behind the counter, there were three bullet holes in his store. Hundreds of people outside were scattering in panic, he said.
Both Montarello and Romero said they saw police handcuffing a man at Market and Jones streets a short distance away. Police have a 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man, both from San Francisco, in custody, charged with aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and weapons and gang charges.
Police spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield said the motive for the shooting is still being investigated.
“Apparently there were two rival groups,” Dangerfield said. He added that it was unclear whether the gang members had come to the area to see the Pride celebration.
Police had an increased presence at Pride this year. Last year, a 19-year-old man was shot dead and two others injured during gunfire at Pink Saturday in the Castro, in what police have said was also a gang-related shooting.
“It’s not the gay community,” Montarello said of Saturday’s shooting. “But it just seemed like there was a whole lot of youngsters, a lot of people who didn’t really need to be around here … a lot of straight kids, just gawking at the girls.”
Police did not report any other major incidents at Pride as of press time.