S.F. tallies year’s first slaying

San Francisco police are investigating the first killing of 2008, an early morning shooting Tuesday in the South of Market neighborhood.

Police said the unidentified victim, a man in his late 20s, was walking on Ninth Street near the intersection of Folsom Street just before 5 a.m. when he was shot in the face. Medical personnel pronounced the man dead when they arrived.

Police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens said there was little information available regarding the homicide.

“Unfortunately, investigators now have to look into the first homicide of the year,” he said.

According to police operations, there were no witnesses in the area and police have no vehicle or suspect information. The homicide occurred about a block away from a popular cluster of nightclubs with early-morning hours.

The homicide tally for 2007 also began with a New Year’s Day killing and ended in December with 98 homicides — the highest number since 1995, when The City recorded 104 slayings.

For SoMa residents, a slaying in the middle of the neighborhood could mean a growing trend of deadly violence will only continue into the new year. The Southern police station, which covers SoMa, recorded nine homicides in 2007 — triple the number of killings in that district in 2006.

On Tuesday, police were also investigating two New Year’s stabbings that occurred at about 2 a.m. near Washington Square in North Beach.

Police also responded to a daylight shooting in the area of McAllister and Fillmore streets. Witnesses called police about 10 a.m. and said the occupants of two white cars were driving around and shooting at each other. Police were unable to locate any suspects or vehicles, and police said they believe nobody was hurt in the shooting.

bbegin@examiner.com

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