Police investigate possible connection between deadly back-to-back shootings in Potrero Hill

Three homicides reported within 24 hours amid ‘tragic wave of gun violence’

Police are investigating whether a pair of back-to-back shootings that killed two men Saturday near the Potrero Hill housing projects are connected.

The deadly shootings occurred within hours of each other in the midst of what Police Chief Bill Scott described as a “tragic wave of gun violence” in San Francisco that also included a third homicide on Friday.

The first shooting on Potrero Hill happened at around 10 a.m. Saturday when a 59-year-old man was struck by gunfire near 25th and Connecticut streets, according to police. He died after being taken to a local hospital. The Medical Examiner’s Office has not released his identity.

Officers were still in the area investigating the homicide when someone unloaded a rifle around the corner on the first block of Dakota Street just two hours later, killing 54-year-old Randy Armstrong of San Francisco and seriously injuring a 49-year-old man, authorities said.

Police say investigators with the Homicide Detail and Community Violence Reduction Team are seeking to determine if there is “any connection” between the shootings. CVRT is the newly reimagined Gang Task Force that focuses on deterring and investigating group or gang violence.

Police have also increased resources in the area to prevent future violence.

The shootings came less than 24 hours after a man was gunned down in the Excelsior. The victim was shot once near Vienna Street and Persia Avenue on Friday at around 6:39 p.m. He died at a local hospital and has since been identified by officials as Jose Vergara-Lopez, 31, of San Francisco.

Police have arrested a teenager in connection with that incident. The 17-year-old male juvenile was admitted to the Juvenile Justice Center on suspicion of murder and is not being identified because of his age.

While homicides were down as of earlier this month, San Francisco has been experiencing a surge in shootings so far in 2021.

The most recent police data available shows 82 people have been shot in The City as of May 9, compared to 33 people during the same time period in 2020. Homicides were at 13 compared to 17 at the same time in 2020.

District Attorney Chesa Boudin reacted to the violence on Saturday.

“I’m outraged by the recent shooting deaths,” Boudin said on Twitter. “My homicide leads are already working with SFPD on the investigation.”

No arrests have been announced in the Potrero Hill cases as of Monday.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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