A report of a possible active shooter at a building in Potrero Hill that appears to have been unfounded may have been linked to an earlier report of a suspicious person in the area.
Officers responded to 350 Rhode Island St. around 12:45 p.m. after a call reporting a possible active shooter in the southmost of two buildings at that address. That building includes a Sutter Health medical facility, a parking garage, a labor union office and a software company.
Both buildings were evacuated while police conducted a search. Police have not confirmed any shots fired or located any victims.
Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak said that a short time earlier, at 12:15 p.m., there had been a call reporting a suspicious person at the same address with a possible weapon, either a knife or a stick, which had become a topic of conversation in the building.
“That was a legitimate call from bulding security and that did initiate a police response,” Andraychak said.
The sequence of events is somewhat unclear, but it appears that occupants in the building saw the police response and were asked to shelter in place. At some point shortly after, that resulted in a report of an active shooter.
Another officer on scene said police were alerted after someone inside the building saw an alert on the Citizen app and called their spouse, who in turn contacted police.
Henry Chamberlain, a janitor who works on the fourth floor, was among those waiting in a parking lot around the corner after being evacuated.
Chamberlain said he was coming down to the lobby in the elevator just after noon when he saw cops surrounding the building and someone told him someone had come into the building with what appeared to be a gun. However, he noted that someone else had described the gun as fake.
Orion Edens, an employee at Samsara, a software company in the building, said he was coming out of a meeting when he saw police with guns drawn leading people out of the building in a line.
“It was alarming, but when stuff like this happens you just do what you’re told and you get through it,” Edens said.
Streets were closed in the area and bus lines saw delays and reroutes due to police activity, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.
(Potrero Hill, San Francisco) Report of Shots Fired — Police are evacuating workers and conducting a thorough search of the building near 16th St & Rhode Island St. Following here: https://t.co/BQ8UH3ehHQ #CitizenAppSF
— Citizen SF Bay Area (@CitizenApp_SF) May 20, 2019
BREAKING NEWS: Rhode Island St. Incident
On 5/20/2019 at approximately 12:45PM, #SFPD responded to a building on the 300 block of Rhode Island regarding a possible active shooter. At this time we have not confirmed any shots being fired or any injuries. Please avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/6qlrhhVsXD
— San Francisco Police (@SFPD) May 20, 2019
UPDATE: Expect the 55 to be affected as well. https://t.co/tMZyZMKoEO
— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) May 20, 2019