Police investigating death of man on Market Street

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a 56-year-old man who was found dead Friday morning in a residential hotel on Market Street.

The man, who has not been identified, was killed from a single stab wound to the chest, but police officials have not labeled the death a homicide yet, said Sgt. Neville Gittens of the San Francisco Police Department. Until more information is attained from the Medical Examiner’s Office, police are treating the incident as a suspicious death, which could mean the wound was self-inflicted, Gittens said.

Police received a call approximately 1:55 a.m. regarding a verbal altercation between two tenants at a hotel on the 1200 block of Market Street, Gittens said. When officers arrived at the scene they discovered the body of the man, but the department is still investigating if the man’s death is related to the dispute reported earlier, Gittens said.

“This is being ruled a suspicious death until the medical examiner determines foul play was involved,” Gittens said.

Suspicious deaths — which are labeled “undetermined” by the Medical Examiner’s Office — are uncommon in San Francisco, according to department records. In 2005, the most recent data collected by the department, undetermined deaths accounted for 1.6 percent of the total fatalities in San Francisco, Medical Examiner’s Office records show.

If the man’s death is ruled a homicide it would be the 65th this year in San Francisco, and the fourth in five days.

Homicides in 2008 are only slightly behind the pace of 2007, when The City recorded a decade-high 98 homicides. In 2007, there were 68 killings by mid-August, police officials said.

The stabbing victim’s death comes less than 24 hours after police found two men fatally shot in a car parked on Golden Gate Avenue, right outside the campus of the University of San Francisco.

The bodies of Andre Helton, 18, and Isiah Turner, 34, both of San Francisco, were discovered approximately 5:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Police responded to the scene after a bystander reported three men sleeping in a Mazda 626. Turner and Helton were both dead when officers arrived.

On Monday night, a 30-year-old man, Orlando Martin-Camas, was shot and found dead on McAllister Street, just two blocks from City Hall.

No suspects have been arrested in connection with any of the three homicide incidents this week, according to the police.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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