Cops say shootout near USF likely pot-related

A 21-year-old man who exchanged gunfire with robbers that had invaded his home near the University of San Francisco last weekend is a known marijuana dealer who was likely guarding his stash, police said.

Cops said four thugs stormed the alleged marijuana dealer’s home in 2500 block of Golden Gate Avenue around 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

They pistol-whipped him, demanded cash and then fled with an electronic gaming system, a wallet and a cell phone, police said.

As the four suspects fled, at least one shot at the accused dealer, who fired back with a shotgun, police said. No one was hit by the bullets, though the shooting rattled nerves in the typically quiet neighborhood.

“The guy’s running a business and it puts the neighbors in danger,” Richmond district police Capt. Richard Correia said Monday.

“It’s all cash and there are guns involved so it’s an easy hit,” he added.

Cops are hunting the robbers, who fled in a newer model Jaguar. They are also probing the resident’s alleged pot dealing operation, and how he got hold of the shotgun, police said.

USF officials say they do not believe the parties involved were students. The gunplay left bullet holes on an apartment complex wall located off-campus, they added.

Cops have sounded an alarm about illegal marijuana operations in The City that endanger residents. In July, busts of major marijuana grow houses in the Laurel Heights and Outer Richmond areas revealed severe fire hazards at the locations.

Neighbors commonly report suspicious activity near their homes, Correia said.

“I often hear things like, ‘Cars pulled up at all hours of the day and night, and did not stay long,’ or, ‘Some days 25 people would come and go from the residence,’” he stated in a recent community newsletter.

The activity draws crooks into relatively safe neighborhoods, he added.

Ray Holland, president of the Planning Association for the Richmond, said the illegal operations have been around for some time in the district, though the problem appears to be growing.

A flurry of police busts at marijuana grow houses in the Sunset district may be pushing the criminal activity to the Richmond area, Holland said.

“I’m not surprise that it would spill over,” he said, adding that growers have enough cash to swiftly secure foreclosed homes in the district.

Correia said residents suspecting illegal activity in their neighborhood can call the police anonymous tip line at (415) 668-7387. They can also phone Richmond station’s Investigative Team leader, Lieutenant Mark Mahoney, at (415) 666-8042.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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