Police have opened a homicide investigation into the death of a firefighter that occurred years after he was struck in San Francisco by a man driving an SUV after an argument in 2011.
The Yolo County coroner confirmed Tuesday that Albert Bartal died from complications of blunt force injuries April 17 in West Sacramento. The 36-year-old former Cal Fire firefighter and Iraq War veteran fell into a coma for a time, The San Francisco Examiner reported, but woke as recently as 2013.
The altercation resulted from an argument with Eduardo Chaparro-Esquivel, 30, in a restaurant at Geary Boulevard and 11th Avenue on Thanksgiving Day, The Examiner reported. The two separated and Bartal walked to a gas station on 11th Avenue, but was followed by Esquivel in a rented SUV. Esquivel then intentionally hit Bartal with the vehicle and fled the scene, according to police.
A San Francisco jury convicted Esquivel of torture, mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon with an enhancement for great bodily injury in 2015, and he is currently serving a prison sentence.
Bartal’s death is being investigated as the 12th homicide of 2018, according to San Francisco Police Officer Robert Rueca. There have been 19 since January.
The District Attorney’s Office could not immediately comment on whether Eduardo Chaparro-Esquivel will now face a murder charge.