San Francisco police shot and killed an armed robbery suspect allegedly hidden in the trunk of a car late Tuesday night, sparking a brief protest outside the Mission Police Station the following afternoon.
Officers shot the suspect, who authorities have yet to identify, in the trunk of a black Honda Civic near 21st and Capp streets, according to police spokesperson Sgt. Michael Andraychak. The shooting happened soon after two victims of an armed robbery flagged down police near 20th and Capp Streets at 10:36 p.m.
Andraychak said in a statement police believed the Civic was involved in the robbery and noticed that the trunk was ajar. Officers were attempting to detain the suspect in the trunk when the shooting occured.
Officers pulled the suspect from the trunk and performed life-saving measures, but the suspect died at the scene.
Andraychak said police later found a handgun in the trunk. Both the driver and a third female passenger in the Civic complied with orders to get out of the car before the shooting and were detained.
One man who requested anonymity told the San Francisco Examiner he witnessed what led up to the shooting. The witness said he saw two middle aged men run south across the intersection at 21st and Capp streets “while pointing out a car to the police car that was following them.”
“I asked the guys who I saw running what happened and one of them said they were robbed by the person driving the car,” the witness said.
The witness said the officers turned on their lights, pulled over the vehicle and got out of their vehicles in defensive positions as three to four more police cars sped up to the scene.
“They kept telling whoever was in the car to get out, and drop the weapon,” the witness said.
The witness said the shooting happened after police asked the driver to “put something on the ground or maybe get on the ground themselves.” The witness did not see the shooting.
A neighbor who requested anonymity said she saw police shooting but could not see who police were shooting at. The witness said she heard a “crazy barrage of gunfire.”
“Very scary,” the neighbor said, adding that police were yelling over the loudspeaker in Spanish and English before the shooting.
Photographs of the scene showed a large number of police cars pulled up behind the dark-colored Civic on Capp Street. The car was pulled over to the side of the street with the driver’s side door open. Police had the area cordoned off.
The neighbor said there were dozens of yellow evidence markers at the scene.
Authorities have yet to release the identity of the person shot by police or the names of those detained.
On Wednesday afternoon, protesters gathered outside Mission Police Station in response to the latest police shooting.
Maria Cristina Gutierrez, who went on hunger strike in front of the station in April 2016 to call for the resignation of former police Chief Greg Suhr over police shootings, said she watched videos of the shooting on television news.
Gutierrez said the gunfire “sounded like a machine gun.”
“They’re escalating, from 49 for Mario Woods, 59 for Alex Nieto and now it’s going to be 100 for this one,” Gutierrez said, estimating the number of bullets officers fired in the police shootings. “I’m so sad though. I’m so sad.”
The small protest prompted Mission Police Station to lock its doors to the public.
This is the second time San Francisco police have fired their weapons on a suspect within a month. On Feb. 17, seven officers shot 65 rounds at a homicide suspect who allegedly opened fire on them in the Design District.
The suspect, Joel Armstrong, was inside a residential vehicle and not injured. Armstrong is accused of killing a 28-year-old man and shooting another hours earlier in the Panhandle.
A vigil is planned for the person shot by police at 5 p.m. near 21st and Capp streets.
Update: KPIX has since obtained a witness video appearing to show the suspect shoot first at police.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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