A 14-year-old boy was shot in the back Tuesday as he ran from an unidentified suspect who shot into a crowd at a bus stop at 16th and Church streets.
The boy, who was in critical condition at press time, was shot at 1 p.m. after getting out of summer classes at Mission High School, San Francisco Police Sgt. Neville Gittens said.
The suspect is still at large, and it is unknown whether he is also a student at MissionHigh School. It is also unclear whether the victim was the intended target.
Mission High’s principal called police Monday, apparently concerned about rising tensions among the students, according to Colleen Fatooh. Fatooh runs the School Resource Officer Program, which places police officers in schools.
Police assigned two extra officers to the school, where classes ended at 12:45 p.m. It is unclear whether those suspected tensions were related to Tuesday’s shooting, Fatooh said.
The shooting is not the first involving students and San Francisco’s Municipal Railway. A string of violent incidents on Muni buses in late 2003, including several that involved juveniles, led police and civic and education officials to speak out against the violence. In September 2005, a 17-year-old boy was shot twice after a dispute on the 44-O’Shaughnessy bus. Police arrested one suspect in that case.
As a site for violence between students, bus stops are “problematic, big-time,” according to Fatooh. Bus stops are where large groups of students, sometimes from different schools, congregate away from the supervision of school staff, she said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the suspected shooter approached the bus island, on the northwest side of the corner, from the east, Gittens said. He walked up 16th Street and fired once across Church Street when he reached the corner. As the crowd on the island fled north toward Market Street, the suspect fired again, hitting the victim, who collapsed near a portable toilet on the east side of Church Street, the same side as the shooter.
The suspect, whom Gittens described as 6 feet 1 inch tall, with black braids or dreadlocks colored orange at either the tips or the roots, fled east on 16th Street,
Gittens said. He was wearing a brown plaid shirt and a black backpack.
There was a small crowd of students and other people at the bus stop and aroundthe corner at the time of the shooting, Gittens said.
According to Muni spokeswoman Maggie Lynch, the driver of an approaching bus witnessed the shooting, as did several passengers.
“Schools, Muni and police do everything we can to ensure people’s safety, but this was not on the bus,” Lynch said.
Staff writer Bonnie Eslinger contributed to this report.