Fatal beating marks 57th homicide of year

A dangerous week in San Francisco continued with more violence early Wednesday morning, when a man was beaten to death in the Tenderloin, marking the fourth homicide in The City in six days.

The man, who appeared to be homeless, was fatally struck around 2 a.m. Wednesday following a verbal altercation at the corner of Turk and Taylor streets, according to Sgt. Gary Jimenez of the Tenderloin Police Station.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as 53-year-old Richard Weiland.

Weiland’s death is the 57th homicide so far in 2008. In 2007, when The City recorded a decade-high 98 homicides, there were 58 killings at the same time of year.

His murder occurred just 15 hours after police found Darrin Mitchell, 33, slumped over in a car on Girard Street, the fatal victim of several gunshot wounds.

On Friday, Armando Estrada was shot and killed at Mission and 20th streets, and on Sunday, Frederick Marcelo was fatally gunned down at Fifth and Clementina streets.

Eyewitnesses Wednesday said a fight broke out after Weiland knocked down a handicapped woman who was using a walker, according to Jimenez. A man rushed to confront Weiland then punched him repeatedly until he collapsed, according to police reports.

Several witnesses were at the scene, and two people weretaken into custody, but no arrests have been made, Jimenez said.

Because the death occurred outside, footage of the fight is likely to have been captured on police cameras at the corner of Turk and Taylor, Jimenez said.

Inspectors are treating the incident as a homicide, but the location where the fight took place — a hub known for its drug activity — means Weiland’s ill health could have contributed to his death, said Jimenez.

Police are also investigating an attempted homicide in the Presidio Heights neighborhood. Late Tuesday afternoon, police officials discovered a woman with a rag stuffed in her mouth, suffering from life-threatening injuries, in a home on California Street. No updates on the case or her health were available Wednesday.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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