Police praised for handgun arrests

Two loaded handguns were taken off The City's streets in two separate downtown incidents this past weekend, according to police.

At 6:40 p.m. Sunday, officers approached a “suspicious male subject holding a shaving kit” at the corner of Market and 6th streets and chased him when he sprinted away, according to a police department statement.

The 28-year old man, Eric Phillips of San Francisco, was chased down and arrested on various firearm- and drug-related charges after he allegedly tossed a loaded handgun and the narcotics-filled shaving kit as he fled, according to the statement.

At 11:30 p.m. Monday, officers in a marked patrol car hit their sirens and ordered a cyclist on Bryant Street near 8th Street to stop because he didn't have a light for his bike, according to the statement.

But the 23-year old man, Andre Westwalker of San Francisco, sped away and allegedly threw away a loaded handgun in the subsequent chase. He was arrested on firearm-related charges.

It was illegal under state law for the men to be carrying the weapons because of their past run-ins with the law, according to police spokesman Sgt. Wilfred Williams.

“This was just some good observations made by officers while out on patrol,” Williams said. “Any time we can take a gun of the street that's kudos for the officers.”

In June, Mayor Gavin Newsom and other city officials announced The City would attempt to increase illegal gun seizures by 25 percent over previous annual tallies of 1,200.

As part of that effort, The City has started offering rewards of up to $1,000 to tipsters using a program called GunStop based on a similar program in New York.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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