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SFPD fatally shoots suspected stabber on busy Market Street

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Investigators roam through the scene where an SFPD officer shot and killed a stabbing suspect ear Market and Mason streets in San Francisco’s Union Square district Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Police shot and killed a man who was reportedly stabbing another man blocks from busy Union Square on Market Street late Wednesday morning.

The incident began at about 11:20 a.m. when two officers on foot patrol witnessed the stabbing in the 900 block of Market Street, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott told reporters at the scene.

Scott provided few details about what led to the shooting, but confirmed the suspect who was shot by police died. The victim of the stabbing was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.

“In the course of intervening, one of the officers discharged a firearm,” Scott said.

The alleged stabber was white, and his victim was Asian or Filipino, police said.

Police did not confirm whether the shooting happened on the street or inside a business, but authorities removed the body of the man shot by police from the Subway at 940 Market St. just before 1:30 p.m. and placed it in a Medical Examiner’s Office van.

Officers shut down Market Street between Fifth and Seventh streets for hours Wednesday afternoon, prompting service interruptions for Muni lines and traffic delays in the area.

The fatal police shooting marks the first under the leadership of Scott, who was sworn in as The City’s top cop in January following a push for use-of-force reforms that are meant to reduce fatal encounters between suspects and officers.

“Loss of life is tragic, doesn’t matter how it happens, it’s tragic,” Scott said. “These things, we try to avoid them as much as we can, but we have an obligation to protect the public.”

Scott was sworn in as The City’s 39th permanent police chief on Jan. 23 and immediately inherited a variety of issues facing the department, including implementing a package of reforms brought down by a federal review of the department.

When Mayor Ed Lee announced his pick of Scott as the next police chief last December, the choice was regarded as a beacon of change for the embattled department that has been plagued by recent scandals including accounts of racist text messages and fatal police shootings.

Wednesday’s police shooting is under investigation by the Police Department’s Homicide and Internal Affairs divisions, the District Attorney’s Office Independent Investigations Bureau, the Department of Police Accountability, and the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the area where the police shooting occurred, said she is hopeful that Wednesday’s incident is an example of “an appropriate use of officer force” and that the department’s reforms are working.

“What I’m hoping to see from this is that our new protocols are working, and that protocol was followed,” Kim said.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Malia Cohen, a staunch proponent of the voter-approved effort last November to mandate the Department of Police Accountability investigate all police shooting incidents, noted the importance of an independent investigation into Wednesday’s shooting.

“This will be the first test of the new department’s ability to conduct an important investigation,” Cohen said of the Department of Police Accountability.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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A Medical Examiner van arrives on the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting near Market and Mason streets in San Francisco's Union Square district Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

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