Police chief orders reinforcements for violence-plagued Mission

Violence has exploded in the Mission district this week and a surge in police numbers in the neighborhood has failed to quell gang-related killings. Six people have died from gunshot wounds in the area in two weeks.

San Francisco police Chief Heather Fong said Friday that the department would use overtime funds to put additional police in the area.

During a press conference to announce the extra resources, Fong read from a prepared statement and refused to answer questions about the violence or about police investigations.

The department will raise the number of foot patrol officers, squad cars and specialized units in the neighborhood, Fong said. The department is also working with officials at nearby Mission High School and coordinating efforts with the California Highway Patrol and other state and federal agencies.

The department will use overtime pay to help fund the surge of officers in the Mission to prevent stripping other neighborhoods of resources, Fong said.

An increased police presence in the Mission was in effect by Thursday night, but that didn’t prevent two separate shootings in the neighborhood that killed two people.

At approximately 9:45 p.m., three people were shot on the corner of 24th and Utah streets. Two Hispanic males died in the shooting, and the third victim, a black female, was sent to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The Medical Examiner’s Officer identified the victims as 19-year old San Francisco resident Noel Espinoza and 23-year old San Mateo County resident Matthew Solomon.

Police said the suspect, a Hispanic male, shot the three victims before fleeing in a gray minivan.

About three hours earlier, a Hispanic male and a Hispanic female both suffered life-threatening injuries after they were shot in a car on 18th and Bryant streets. Police said two suspects, both Hispanic males, fled the scene in a silver compact sedan.

The streets were filled on Tuesday night with patrol officers following the shooting death of Mark Guardado Sr., the 45-year old president of the San Francisco branch of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, by a motorcyclist nearby at the corner of Treat and 24th streets.

Police spokesman Sgt. Wilfred Williams on Friday said that no arrests had been made in connection with the shootings.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano, whose district includes parts of the Mission, said two more people are expected to die from the two Thursday night shootings, which he said were part of a “historic gang feud.”

Ammiano said he feared “more retaliation” on the streets and called for at least 50 more patrol officers in the area to help manage the “crisis emergency situation.”

Mayor Gavin Newsom said a number of the victims and suspects of homicides this year lived outside of The City.

“The good news is, violent crime is down this year,” he said.

jupton@sfexaminer

wreisman@sfexaminer

Examiner Staff Writer Josh Sabatini contributed to this report.

Recent homicides in the Mission district

  • – Aug. 22: Samuel Mitchell, 47, fatally shot at 26th and Folsom streets
  • – Aug. 24: Jorge Hurtado, 18, fatally shot at 23rd and Treat streets
  • – Monday: Marcelino Canul-Castro fatally shot at San Carlos and 18th streets
  • – Tuesday: Mark Guardado, president of the San Francisco Hells Angels chapter, fatally shot near 24th and Treat streets
  • – Thursday: Noel Espinoza, 19, and Matthew Solomon, 23, fatally shot at Utah and 24th streets.

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