Man suffers life-threatening injuries in SoMa shooting

The shoes of a person who was shot in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood this morning remained in a traffic lane on Sixth Street at Minna Street as police investigated the crime.
June 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
San Francisco police believe a dispute between two gangs escalated into a shooting that left an innocent passerby fighting for his life.

The shooting happened just after 7:30 a.m. Friday at the corner of Sixth and Minna streets. Witnesses say two groups of men started arguing and someone fired a gun. A stray bullet struck a man in the head while he walked about half a block away from the scene of the dispute.

No arrests have been made yet, but police have a pretty good idea about who may be involved.

"There are a couple of individuals that we have talked to this morning," said Lt. Jim Miller with the San Francisco Police Gang Task Force. He says it's an ongoing battle between rival gang members. "They've for some reason fought each other or don't like each other for whatever has happened in the past; they see each other again, now it's time to retaliate."

But the bullet fired this morning missed its intended target and hit a man a block away. The victim was rushed to the hospital with a bullet wound to his head. Police are calling it a life-threatening injury.

Residents of Sixth Street say it's nothing new.

"Oh it's a terrible neighborhood," said one resident. "I don't recommend living here."

Part of the reason involves the single occupancy hotels where drug uses and dealers find each other and liquor stores that feature cheap high alcohol booze. A check of the crime map at ABC7NEWS.COM tells the story -- crime is concentrated on Sixth St. Decades ago Chronicle columnist Herb Caen called it the street of broken dreams.

"It's a challenge," said Valerie Leavy who works at an art gallery that recently moved onto Sixth St. She says it's changing. "I myself am going to be directing a new gallery space in the heart of darkness down there between Mission and Market on Sixth Street starting sometime this summer."

A big reason for the change? Cheap rents. A grocery store that moved into the neighborhood three years ago feature fruits and vegetables rather than fortified wine and rolling papers.

"Because we want to improve this area," said grocery store manager Qais Shuhtrah who believes more security is needed. "We want to make it nice."

"Our office has been actively advocating for a substation on Sixth St. that would be dedicated to just foot patrol, not police who that are behind the desk, to actively walk in this two-block radius of Sixth St. between Market and Howard," San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim told ABC7. "When you look at the data around the city, this is where a lot of the activity is happening, and we have to concentrate efforts here. It's not just about the police though. Obviously it's a partnership with our small businesses and also our many community-based organizations that work actively with the tenants and residents around here to make this neighborhood safer."


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