Video of police shooting a man who was sitting in a wheelchair was released Tuesday night after Chief George Gascón answered questions about the second officer-involved shooting in as many weeks.
The video showed at least seven officers — some in uniform and others in plain clothes — surrounding the man and attempting to subdue him with a beanbag gun. Minutes earlier, the man had stabbed a police officer in the shoulder after cops were called to a mental health services center. Once surrounded, the video shows the man maneuvering away from the cops. The man then throws the knife and police open fire, shooting him in the groin.
Both the man and the officer are expected to survive.
Cops were called to the San Francisco Department of Public Health center at 1380 Howard St. around 10:15 a.m. on reports that the suspect was holding a knife and a rock and vandalizing city vehicles, Officer Eric Chiang said.
A worker at the mental health center said the unidentified suspect was a client of 1380 Howard St. who had become angry after he was denied services. Chiang said the man used a wheelchair, but was not confined to it.
Police originally told reporters that the man was standing at the time of the shooting. But at the evening news conference, Gascón acknowledged that the suspect was sitting down in his wheelchair when he was shot. Gascón also released a cell phone video of the shooting captured by a passer-by.
Gascón said the department is investigating how many shots police fired. According to the chief, four officers initially arrived at the scene, including the officer who would be wounded.
Georgia Jackson, who works in the building, said she saw the suspect about an hour and a half before the shooting, sitting in his wheelchair. Jackson said a co-worker told her the suspect became angry after he was denied services.
“My co-worker was saying that he saw [the suspect] vandalizing vehicles,” she said. “At 1380 Howard they help the homeless, that, you know, sometimes they get angry.”
In front of 1380 Howard St., at least two tires of a city vehicle had been slashed.
Tom Cebollero, owner of Metric Motors at 10th and Howard streets, said he witnessed the chaos that followed the shooting.
“I was outside feeding the meter. I heard a gunshot and then I heard sirens,” he said. “Tenth Street is blocked off. They’re setting up a command center. It’s a crazy situation.”
It was the second officer-involved shooting in San Francisco involving a mentally ill person in one week. On Dec. 28, officers shot and killed Vinh Bui, 46, a man with a history of mental illness, after he allegedly stabbed a 15-year-old girl with a scalpel. Police say they killed Bui after he refused to drop the weapon and advanced toward them in a threatening manner.
Staff writer Andrea Koskey and Bay City News contributed to this report.