(Courtesy photo)

Prosecutors: Drunken man playing with gun killed friend driving on Polk Street

A San Francisco man killed his friend while drunkenly waving a pistol around to the tune of the music in the backseat of a car, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Victor Sosa, 23, was driving near Polk and Sutter streets soon after the bars closed early Saturday when his passenger, 28-year-old Jose Manuel Beltran, allegedly fired the gun through the driver’s seat and struck him in the torso.

Sosa cried out in pain as blood seeped from his body, according to prosecutors. Another friend in the front passenger’s seat managed to stop the car before Beltran allegedly took off and ditched the gun.

Prosecutors described the alleged drunken mishap in court records filed Wednesday.

Beltran is facing felony involuntary manslaughter and six other counts related to illegal gun possession, including one felony count of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. Beltran has a misdemeanor conviction from 2009 for carrying a concealed handgun.

Sosa was the father of a child, according to court records. On a GoFundMe page collecting funds in his honor, his mother said Sosa came from a “very humble family of low resources” from Guatemala.

Beltran briefly appeared in court at the Hall of Justice on Wednesday alongside an attorney from the Public Defender’s Office. He has not been assigned a permanent attorney and is scheduled to enter a plea Friday.

Judge Robert Foley ordered that Beltran be held without bail pending a future hearing.

Prosecutor Michael Swart called the situation “predictable” and “avoidable” in court records. Swart said Beltran had already been drinking when he met with Sosa and a female friend at a bar while armed with the pistol.

Beltran would later tell police he purchased the gun illegally and carried it for protection, according to court records.

After the bar closed at 2 a.m., the three friends were driving around San Francisco looking for alcohol when Beltran told Sosa about a bar in the Tenderloin where they could drink, Swart alleged.

The prosecutor said Beltran pulled out the gun in the backseat because it was uncomfortable in his waistband. He was drunkenly playing with the weapon despite the female friend telling him to put it away.

After the gun went off, the female friend stopped the car from the front passenger seat and screamed for help.

Swart said Beltran “stated he was sorry but immediately fled the scene and discarded the handgun.”

The female friend stayed and told homicide investigators that she believed the shooting was an accident.

Beltran turned himself in to police the following day. Swart said he copped to playing with the gun but told police “he did not know how the gun went off.”

The shooting marked the 35th homicide of the year in San Francisco.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com Crime

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Music venues around The City have largely been unable to reopen due to ongoing pandemic health orders. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to cut $2.5M in fees to help 300 nightlife venues

San Francisco will cut $2.5 million in fees for hundreds of entertainment… Continue reading

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett departs the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after Ginsburg’s death. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
GOP senators confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court in partisan vote

By Jennifer Haberkorn Los Angeles Times The Senate on Monday confirmed Judge… Continue reading

Curator Tim Burgard looks over a section of the galleries comprising “The de Young Open,” a huge, varied collection of work by Bay Area artists. (Photo courtesy Gary Sexton/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Bay Area artists jam-pack vivid ‘de Young Open’

Huge exhibition — with works for sale — showcases diversity, supports community

SF Board of Education vice president Gabriela Lopez and commissioner Alison Collins listen at a news conference condemning recent racist and social media attacks targeted at them and the two student representatives on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Online attacks on school board members denounced by city officials

City officials on Monday condemned the targeting of school board members, both… Continue reading

Most Read