The City’s police chief defended the actions of an officer who accidentally shot two bystanders Saturday night on Broadway in North Beach.
The out-of-towners were hit by a stray bullet a cop fired toward an alleged drug dealer who had pointed a gun at the officers while fleeing.
“The department could not feel worse about having two bystanders injured,” police Chief Greg Suhr said Monday during a community meeting in North Beach. “However, the alternative of having a suspect with this weapon ... could’ve been a lot worse.”
The Police Department held the meeting Monday night to discuss the shooting. Dozens of North Beach residents and people from Broadway’s entertainment industry attended.
The incident started around
2 a.m. Saturday in the 400 block of Broadway when police approached Jesus Paredes Rodriguez, a man they believed to be wanted for a felony, Suhr said. Rodriguez, who was armed with a loaded TEC-9 semi-automatic pistol, was engaged in a marijuana drug deal, police said. After sprinting eastbound on Broadway to evade officers, Rodriguez reportedly took aim at the officers but never fired.
One of the pursuing officers squeezed off one round, which missed Rodriguez and accidently hit the two bystanders 15 feet behind him. However, Rodriguez fell to the ground and was arrested.
The male bystander was struck in the leg and the woman was struck by “a piece of the bullet or some other sort of casing” in the thigh, Suhr said. He spoke to both bystanders Monday before the community meeting.
The Broadway corridor has a reputation for rowdy crowds and violence, but locals hope that can change.
“It does have the reputation, and I think everybody in our group realizes that and we’re trying to change it ourselves,” said Nader Marvi, who co-owns the Monroe Lounge across the street from where the shooting took place. Through his community group, Voice of Broadway, Marvi hopes to make the corridor “friendlier” while banning potentially violent out-of-towners.
“All we gotta do is not make them feel welcome,” Marvi said.
An investigation into the shooting is ongoing, but Suhr said the officer’s actions were within department policy.
Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who has been an avid supporter of gun control, said, “If it were up to me, I would legislate these guns out of existence.”
Rodriguez is charged with a felony weapons violation, two counts of felony assault and a misdemeanor possession of marijuana.