Javier Lopez Garcia, with tattoos across his face and wearing white overalls, allegedly walked through a construction yard adjacent to St. Luke’s Hospital in the Mission district Wednesday, telling three people he wanted to kill himself.
“Call the cops and call the channel 10 news,” Garcia, 25, reportedly told witnesses.
When he reached the sixth floor and climbed atop a construction elevator, Garcia allegedly pointed the long, silver shotgun police suspect him of stealing from a San Bruno sporting goods store at the nearby hospital, civilians and then officers.
That’s when three officers opened fire. Garcia was struck and fell where he stood.
Such was the description of the active shooter situation given by police Chief Greg Suhr at a town hall meeting for the public Friday at St. Luke’s.
“I’ve spoken to Mr. Garcia’s mother and apologized for the loss of her son,” Suhr said. “I think that what he intended to have happened on this particular day occurred.”
When Garcia allegedly robbed the Big 5 Sporting Goods store less than an hour before the construction site situation, he reportedly told employees that he was suicidal.
“Please do not make any sudden movement or gestures or else I will be forced to shoot you,” reads a note found at the scene from Garcia. “The only difference between me and you is im [sic] not afraid to get shot.”
Suhr did not call the shooting a suicide by cop, but said “he spoke of suicide and he is no longer with us.”
Garcia allegedly brought with him into the San Bruno store an airsoft pistol, waving it around, and a newspaper clipping for the “12-gauge marine-finish tactical pump shotgun” — the one he is suspected of stealing. He’s also alleged to have taken with him a shotgun ammo box containing five rounds.
When police recovered the box, only three were inside. It’s unclear whether he fired the shotgun at the construction site, but Suhr said responding officers heard gunfire.
“We don’t know that he fired any shots,” Suhr said. “They heard what they believed to be gunfire but… those sounds could have been anything,” he said, noting that the incident happened at an active construction site, where some 30 workers toiled.
A tactical unit later responded, deploying “distraction devices” designed to produce “a large sound and heavy bang” to test whether or not Garcia was still alive, said Suhr. But there was no movement.
The District Attorney’s Office and Office of Citizen Complaints are investigating the police use of force. San Francisco police have two ongoing investigations into the shooting.
Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink