SFPD accused of fouling up

The family of a 56-year-old woman shot by police at an at-home mental health facility after she threatened a social worker and officers with a knife accused San Francisco police of mishandling a delicate situation.

The woman, Teresa Sheehan, is in stable condition at San Francisco General Hospital. During the Aug. 7 incident, she was shot in the face, shoulders, chest and groin, family members said. The shooting followed a complaint from a social worker who said Sheehan had threatened to kill him, according to police.

The worker called police for assistance at Sheehan’s 1941 15th St. home around 11:10 a.m., SFPD Sgt. Wilfred Williams said.

When police arrived and entered the patient’s room, she picked up a knife and said she would kill anyone who came near, according to authorities. Police used pepper spray, but it was ineffective at subduing her, Williams said. Police opened fire after Sheehan lunged at the officers with the knife, police said.

Sheehan was subsequently arrested and faces charges, Williams said. Authorities would not comment further on the incident because of pending investigations into the matter.

But the Sheehan family said the incident was mishandled. Teresa Sheehan, who has been diagnosed with borderline schizophrenia, has lived in the home in the Mission Dolores neighborhood for six years, said her sister, Frances Sheehan.

“The whole thing could have been prevented if they’d just brought in a professional, a psychiatrist, a family member — anybody who could have sat down and resolved the situation,” Frances Sheehan said from her Orange County home.

On Wednesday night, Sheehan’s brother, John Sheehan, called on the Police Commission to review the Department’s protocols for dealing with the mentally disabled.

Following standard procedure, police have placed the two officers — Sgt. Kimberly Reynolds, a 17-year veteran and Officer Kathrine Holder, who has been with the SFPD for eight years — on administrative leave.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer Brent Begin contributed to this report.

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