Shootings, fire on calm Fourth of July

Two bizarre arsons

Two bizarre arsons

Fireworks lit up the night during Fourth of July celebrations in San Francisco — and later, so did gasoline and bullets.

About 1 a.m. Thursday, a teenager reported to police that he had been shot in the back while watching an illegal fireworks display at 14th and Shotwell streets in the Mission district. A pal drove the 18-year-old to San Francisco General Hospital, but the injury is not considered life-threatening, police Officer Gordon Shyy said.

The teen was uncooperative with cops, Shyy said, and investigators do not believe the gunman, who has not been found, was shooting out of celebration.

More than an hour later, police said, another shooting only a few blocks away critically injured a 21-year-old man who had been in an argument with the suspect.

And two bizarre arsons, one in the Bayview district and the other in the Upper Haight, were reported Wednesday night.

In the first incident, witnesses told police they watched 51-year-old James Elwood inexplicably pour gas on the roadway in the 600 block of Clayton Street and light it on fire. No one was injured, Shyy said, and Elwood was arrested near the scene.

Earlier, a firebug set the side of a home ablaze in the 700 block of Kirkwood Street using cardboard, police said.

The resident of the home put the fire out with a garden hose, police said. The suspect has not been found.

Despite these incidents, police said Independence Day was relatively calm.

“It didn’t seem unusually busy,” Shyy said.

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