Police combat violence in the Mission District

September 5, 2008 7:26:54 PM PDT
San Francisco police Friday made a public appeal for an end to the violence in the Mission District.

Six people have been killed there in the past two weeks.

Thursday night, there was a double shooting at 18th and Bryant Streets. A man and woman sitting in a parked car with an infant were shot. The baby was not hurt but both adults suffered life-threatening injuries.

Later, there was a double homicide at 24th and Utah Streets. Police said just before 10 p.m. two men walked up and opened fire on two other men and a woman standing on the street. The woman survived but 23-year-old Matthew Solomon died at the scene and 19-year-old Noel Espinoza died later at the hospital.

Tuesday night, the president of the San Francisco Hell's Angels motorcycle club was killed near 24th and Treat Streets. Police increased patrols in the area after that, but Thursday's shootings have prompted an even greater response.

"We are spending overtime to bring in new people," Police Chief Heather Fong said. That will include uniformed and plainclothes officers in Mission hotspots that will be drawn from specialized units to help the beat cops.

A study shows 70 percent of the city's homicide victims are well known to officers or on probation or parole. So police will work to make sure parolees follow the conditions of their release.

"Their compliance with court directives is not only important because they have agreed to do so and they are not in custody because they have agreed to do so, but also because we're trying to save their lives," Fong said.

Police are also asking for more community involvement.

"If you think something's not right, something's unusual, call us," Deputy Police Chief David Schinn said. "You are the eyes and ears of the community; you know when something's not right in your neighborhood."


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