Gun battle in SF's Tenderloin leaves one dead, one injured

July 21, 2013 7:26:00 PM PDT
A gunfight in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood has left one man dead and another clinging to life at San Francisco General Hospital. The shootings happened Saturday night on O'Farrell and Larkin streets.

The man who died of gunshot wounds has been identified as 24-year-old Melsar Godoy of San Francisco. The other man, who is hospitalized with life threatening injuries, has not been identified. Homicide investigators are looking into whether the two victims were even involved in the original altercation that led to the gun battle.

"I started counting, you know, I missed the first two, but I started counting and I counted 15 shots," witness Russ said.

Russ, who did not want to use his last name, is talking about the gun battle on the 800 block of O'Farrell Street.

Officers were called to the area at about 9:40 p.m. after reports of a raging gun battle. Police Chief Greg Suhr described the incident when officers arrived.

"The suspect, when he was in the intersection, was shooting back on what they believe to be two suspects that were on the north side of the street shooting back at him," he said.

Russ, who lives at the Iroquois Apartments on O'Farrell, says those rounds were going everywhere.

"We heard bullets going past my window, yeah," Russ said. "I mean, I'm surprised other people weren't hurt."

Chief Suhr says two groups of men were involved in the shooting. As they shot at each other, he says one man turned on officers with a gun.

"Suspect turned on officers, one officer fired rounds at the suspect, did not hit the suspect," he said.

When the shooting was done, one man lay dead in front of the Iroquois Apartments. A rest in peace sign above a candle was left for the victim. Another man was seriously wounded on the corner of Larkin Street. A bouquet of flowers was left for that man, who is apparently named Benson.

Officers say several of the people involved in the shooting managed to run away. Police did arrest one man.

"One suspect is in custody that was firing upon the larger group, his firearm is in custody," Chief Suhr said.

Chief Suhr says two weapons were recovered. Residents we spoke with say drug dealing is the biggest problem in this part of the Tenderloin, and that this was a drug related incident.

Whether this incident is also gang related is under investigation. Homicide investigators are also looking for the other individuals involved in the gun battle.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the San Francisco Police Department.


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