'I'm shocked': Memorial for SF hit-and-run victim vandalized as community seeks change in troubled city

Flowers ripped from two wreaths, crumpled letters to Hana, and overall destruction litter the sidewalk in the area of 2nd and Mission streets.
Friday, January 15, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Just two weeks after a double fatal-hit-and-run in San Francisco, friends of one young woman, are grieving again after a memorial in her honor was destroyed. They now have plans to preserve her memory and make a statement on changes that need to be made in the city.

Friends of 27-year old Hana Abe, share the same sentiment witnessing what's left of the street-side memorial in her honor. Flowers ripped from two wreaths, crumpled letters to Hana, and overall destruction litter the sidewalk in the area of 2nd and Mission streets.

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"I'm just overwhelmed and shocked by how someone could do something like this at such a time," says close friend Jason.

Seeing the memorial in this state, is like re-living the horror of what happened on New Year's Eve, all over again.

"That is so sad," says one man who passed by and described himself as a San Francisco native. He called the ruined display a sign of disrespect and show of how much has changed in the city.

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Police say Troy McAlister, a repeat offender, was out on parole, and driving a stolen vehicle when he hit and killed Hana and Elizabeth Platt. His next court appearance is Wednesday, Jan 20.

SFPD say they're looking into what happened at this memorial and are asking for the public's help in identifying any suspects. One merchant is already offering up help of her own after witnessing the destruction night after night.

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"Everybody see the flower and just drop them to the floor. When I see it I go fix it because I want to make sure it's good," says the woman who was too shy to reveal her name because of her broken English.

Upon hearing of the woman's assistance, Jason made a point to thank her for her small act of kindness.

As the day wore on, every person we spoke with agreed, the memorial seems to be a symbol of much bigger issues in the city.

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"Some level of mutual respect between human beings, which is severely lacking in the city, needs to be addressed. We all need to be kinder to each other and respectful to people we don't know," says Jason. This sentiment was echoed by another one of Hana's friends, who also did not want to be identified, as he processes all the tragic events of the past couple weeks.

"The issue is more complicated than we can even imagine but we need to figure out what to do to improve."

There is currently a proposal by loved ones to re-name a smaller street nearby "Hana Abe Way." Friends say it's a more permanent way for Hana's spirit to live on.

"This is just the starting point. This is a conversation for change in the city."

A GoFundMe for Hana has already raised more than $139,000 which will help toward funeral expenses and other costs for her family who lives in abroad in Japan and have been staying in San Francisco. They are in town for just a short period of time to bring Hana home.
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