Woman with explosives in Columbus Hotel hospitalized

June 12, 2012 7:23:15 PM PDT
San Francisco police are still deciding whether to press charges against a North Beach woman. The bomb squad found potentially dangerous devices in her apartment and evacuated her building last night.

Residents returned to their homes here in the Columbus Hotel after midnight last night, except of course for the woman who triggered this evacuation. And police say the first call for help didn't come from this building. Instead it came from several blocks away at the Federal Reserve Bank.

About 150 residents spent hours in the streets while the San Francisco police bomb squad swept through the Columbus Hotel. They focused on Samantha von Hallstrom's room.

"They did find that there was some components that could be used to make explosive devices," said San Francisco Police Officer Carlos Manfredi.

Inside Hallstrom's room they also found several firearms. Her neighbors say she is an employee at the Federal Reserve Bank and police say that's where the first call for help was made.

"A co-worker noticed that one of the other co-workers that works at that building had signs of psychiatric distress," said Manfredi.

As police were taking Hallstrom to San Francisco General Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation she told officers that just before she went into work she shot a hole through her apartment door.

"We all heard this like pop, on the third floor. I looked out when my other neighbors looked out and the suspect, Samantha looked out," said neighbor Jeff Bilbrey.

Bilbrey says he didn't think much of the "pop" which turned out to be a gunshot, until officers arrived a few hours later and cleared out the building. Bilbrey showed us the bullet hole on Hallstrom's door in what he says is a very busy hallway.

"If some of the children had been running, they could have been hit and killed," said Bilbrey.

Police are trying to figure out if the fire arms found in Hallstrom's apartment are legal and exactly how dangerous the explosive components are before deciding on possible charges. She's not in police custody, but will remain at San Francisco General Hospital for a three- day evaluation.

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