Suspected gang member shot in Sunset

San Francisco police are investigating whether a man once linked to a major Chinatown street gang was killed by gunfire before crashing and rolling his vehicle in The City’s Sunset district early Monday morning, police said.

Sometime before 2 a.m., 32-year-old Simon Ruan — whom law enforcement officials in the late 1990s referred to as a major player in the notorious Jackson Street Boys gang — pulled up to a stop sign at Lincoln Way and 16th Avenue. A suspect, who remains at large, pulled up next to Ruan and opened fire, San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens said.

After he was shot, police say, Ruan drove a few blocks before crashing and rolling his Mercedes into a parked minivan on the 1300 block of 14th Avenue. Ruan, a Pittsburg resident, was partially ejected from the vehicle, suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at 2:03 a.m.

“We believe at this point in time that he was killed as a result of the accident,” Gittens said. “We know shots were fired, but the [San Francisco Chief Medical Examiner] is going to have to determine how he died. We had inspectors respond … to preserve whatever evidence if it does turn out to be a homicide.”

A female passenger, whose name has not been released, was taken to a hospital for injuries, but is in stable condition.

Gittens could not confirm whether Ruan was still connected to the gang.

“There’s no determination whether [the shooting] was gang-related,” he said. “That’s something we’ll be looking into.”

The shooting and subsequent crash shocked some neighbors of the quiet neighborhood block, home to St. Anne, a large private school andCatholic parish. The number of homicides within the Taraval Station boundaries has gone down significantly in the last few years — from 13 in 2004 to six in 2005 and three in 2006.

“Honestly, the most ruckus is from the church with all the events,” said one resident of nearby Funston Avenue who didn’t want to give her name. “This is not that kind of neighborhood.”

Lisa Moy, who has lived on Funston Avenue with her husband, Victor Chu, for 16 years, described the area as “neighbor-friendly.” The couple, who live a block from the accident site, said they turned in shortly after 1 a.m. Monday, but didn’t hear anything related to the crash.

“That’s strange — we didn’t even hear the police car,” Moy said. “Because there’s a school across the street, if there’s any commotion, someone would look out the window.”

arocha@examiner.com

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