Alleged BB gun assailant faces felony charge

A man who allegedly shot at a parking control officer with a BB gun last month — because he “doesn’t like getting tickets,” according to a police report — faces a felony assault with a deadly weapon charge after two adult probation officers who were in the area arrested him on the spot.

Officers with the San Francisco Adult Probation Department happened to be in the area of Seventh and Harrison streets April 18 when Luis Sanchez, 20, allegedly opened fire on a parking control officer with his friend’s weapon. The officers promptly arrested Sanchez, who faces one count of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.

Parking control officers — the uniformed, civilian employees who enforce parking and traffic laws for the Department of Parking and Traffic — often face obscenities and rudeness from drivers unhappy with parking tickets. By late 2006, a total of 28 assaults on PCOs far exceeded the 17 recorded in 2005. The increase prompted District Attorney Kamala Harris to sponsor legislation, written by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, that would increase penalties for assaults against PCOs.

The most recent victim, who has been shot with a BB gun before, according to DPT spokeswoman Maggie Lynch, was not hurt in the assault last month. Assembly Bill 1686, which passed the state Assembly in a unanimous vote Thursday, would increase the penalties in so-called simple assaults — those not involving deadly weapons — against parking control officers. Assaults not with a deadly weapon carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail, but under the new law, they would be punishable by a year, just as they are in such attacks on police officers, sheriff’s deputies or other peace officers.

The bill is expected to go to committees in the state Senate this summer, and to be on the governor’s desk by September, Leno said.

amartin@examiner.com

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