Police looking into connections in three gang killings

A gang-related fistfight near a Mission District pizzeria erupted into gunfire Sunday afternoon, leaving two men dead and two others behind bars.

The victims were identified by the medical examiner’s office Monday morning as Francisco Pena, 41, a resident of The City, and Francisco Cornejo, 26, whose address wasn’t known.

A third man, whose name was not released, remains in life-threatening condition, San Francisco police Sgt. Lyn Tomioka said.

At 4:02 p.m., officers responded to a report of gunshots around 24th Street and Potrero Avenue. They found three people shot and “a very large crime scene,” in the neighborhood, which is a mix of apartment buildings and small shops.

One man was dead when paramedics arrived. The two other victims were rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, where one of them died.

Police say gang task force officers and plain clothes cops from the Mission Station were in the area and were able to identify the two suspects, a juvenile male and a man, as soon as a description was released. Ten minutes after the shooting, police responded to a nearby residence and arrested both suspects without incident.

Inspectors “definitely believe it was gang related,” Tomioka said.

Sunday’s triple shooting happened eight blocks away and less than two days after 21-year-old Michael Sanchez of San Francisco was gunned down in a dispute police say was also gang-related. In that incident, two groups of men were arguing at 24th and Shotwell streets before Sanchez and another man were shot at 7:10 p.m., authorities said.

Sanchez’s companion is expected to survive.

Police are looking into whether the killings are connected, Tomioka said. Both the Friday and Sunday incidents occurred within the “safety zone” protected by The City’s 2007 injunction against members of the Norteno gang. The L-shaped safety zone is bordered by 23rd Street to the north (but extending to 21st Street at Alabama Street), Valencia Street to the west, Cesar Chavez Street to the South, Potrero Avenue to the East, and extending to encompass La Raza Park, also known as Potrero Del Sol Park.

Neither of the victims was a subject of  the gang injunction, and the names of their alleged killers were not immediately available.

Sunday’s slayings mark San Francisco’s 36th and 37th homicides of the year.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

 

This story was corrected to reflect that Sunday's homicides are the 36th and 37th homicides of the year.

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