Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying three people of interest in the fatal physical assault of 67-year-old San Francisco homeless resident Tai Lam, police said Tuesday.
Lam was brutally beaten to death while he slept in a Financial District alley early Nov. 23. His body was discovered about 7 a.m. the following day.
Police originally said Lam’s death was suspicious. After canvassing the area for surveillance footage, they discovered that multiple cameras had captured three people who were in the area around the time Lam was killed.
Also on Tuesday, police released video surveillance images of three men, possibly in their late teens to mid-20s, Sgt. John Cagney said.
In one video, three men were shown standing in front of Crocker Galleria in the 100 block of Sutter Street some time between 11 p.m. and midnight, Lt. Toney Chaplin said.
One of the men is smoking a cigarette. The three men are dressed casually in what appear to be jeans and hooded sweatshirts and jackets, and they seem to know each other.
Investigators believe that the three men attended a nearby flash-mob-type event that occurred earlier in the evening, Cagney said. At one point while standing in front of the Galleria, the group spoke with a security guard but it was not confrontational.
The second video shows at least one of the men from the first video walk past the alley across the street from what appears to be the stairs of Crocker Galleria.
In the alley, Lam's sleeping silhouette can be seen.
Someone runs back into the alley and appears to kick the victim several times.
Those are the only two videos of the “savage attack” that police would show in the hopes that someone may recognize one of the men in the first video. Investigators said they have more footage that is even more brutal, but did not want to release that at this time due to its graphic nature.
“The attack was one of the worst I’ve ever seen,” Cagney said.
Police said the suspects used no weapon during the assault but that after attacking him once, they came back not long after and resumed the attack.
Police believe Lam lived for a short time after the attack before dying from the injuries.
It is also believed the group took BART or Muni to or from this location. The Montgomery Street station is just a block away from where the assault occurred.
Police said they would be in the area Thursday at 4 p.m. handing out fliers in the hopes of catching the “cowards” for attacking and killing Lam, Officer Albie Esparza said.
Lam reportedly weighed less than 100 pounds and stood at 5-foot-5. Merchants and others who knew him said he kept to himself and was not troublesome, police said.
Anyone with information about the suspects is encouraged to call police at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with “SFPD” at the start of the message.