Double homicide increases count to 50

Two men are dead and another is clinging to life from a shooting Sunday afternoon in San Francisco’s Portola neighborhood that brought The City’s homicide tally up to 50 at the halfway point of the year.

Officers responded about 3:10 p.m. to Maynard and Congdon streets and found three men with gunshot wounds inside a blue Honda Civic. The victims were driving southbound on Congdon Street when they passed another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, San Francisco police Sgt. Wilfred Williams said. A person inside the suspect vehicle fired shots into the Honda, Williams said.

The victim’s vehicle rolled backwards almost a full block and smashed into a parked car. The suspect vehicle fled northbound on Congdon Street and the suspects remained at large Sunday evening, Williams said.

Police said the occupants of the two cars were in an altercation before the shooting, though what the cause of the argument was or if the parties knew each other has not been revealed. Police did not release any information about the suspects or the vehicle.

The victims were not identified as of Sunday evening, but police said they were Hispanic men in their 20s. Two of the men were pronounced dead at the scene and the third victim was transported to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Two men were in the area at the time of the shooting, said Feres Alawdi, who was working at nearby US Market. One of the witnesses called police while another was waving his arms and screaming for help.

“I heard four or five shots, but I didn’t know what it was at first,” Alawdi said. “I thought it was fireworks or something.”

The two deaths Sunday bring San Francisco’s homicide tally for 2008 to 50. At the same point of 2007, when The City recorded a decade-high 98 homicides, there were 46 homicides.

Sunday’s violence comes as The City looks to slow the growth of the Police Department in order to close a budget deficit of over $300 million. Some on the Board of Supervisors have suggested cutting academy classes and lowering the minimum staffing level of the Police Department.

bbegin@examiner.com

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