Cell phone video taken by one family member shows the chaos of what happened Monday afternoon. You can hear a young person say, "I heard them (the suspects) have a gun, I have a gun so I started recording!"
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Patrick Elliott and his wife who is from the Philippines and 16 other family members were on a California road trip when they made their last stop in San Francisco. Wanting to check out the famed Sea Lions at Pier 39, they parked in the area of Powell and the Embarcadero. That's when one family member was approached by three men. One had a gun.
"If my family member or anyone with my family got hit it would just be catastrophic," said Elliott via Zoom from his home in Wisconsin.
Documents obtained by ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim show a 22-year old man named Carlos Claros and two unnamed suspects attempted to take cell phones. It all unfolded in front of the family which includes children as young as 6 years old.
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"You fear for your own life, you fear for your safety," said Elliott.
Wanting to protect his family, citing he would at least absorb the impact of any shots fired, Patrick stepped in. He recalled what Claros said to another moment of his family.
"He said 'Ugh you Asian' and spit in her direction," said Elliott.
SFPD who were already doing patrols in the area responded quickly and followed Claros and his associates to Aquatic Park where the family saw him throw a gun under a vehicle. Claros was arrested for a number of charges.
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ABC7 also discovered that Claros has an extensive criminal history including drug possession and possession of a stolen vehicle last year. He was involved in a strong-armed robbery spree in late 2019 spanning multiple neighborhoods and was on probation during the Fisherman's Wharf incident.
"Stupid follows stupid so I would understand him having a record like that and it's not shocking," said Patrick.
ABC7 News reached out to District Attorney Chesa Boudin to ask why the robbery charges were dropped and Claros was on probation during the incident with the Elliotts. We also asked if there were any words for the family.
The response from Rachel Marshall, director of communications for Boudin replied in full:
Our office has charged Mr. Claros in this recent incident with six counts (four felonies and two misdemeanors), including attempted robbery with a gun. We filed a motion for his detention, which was granted by a judge. Mr. Claros is on felony probation from a 2018 incident. Given that this is a pending case, we are limited in what else we can share at this time.
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ABC7 News asked Elliott about the fact one of his alleged perpetrators was released and back on the streets after so many offenses.
"You hear about the three strike rule that they have and I think one strike, two strikes you're hurting people. There's no purpose for you to be around anymore," he said.
Patrick hopes that speaking out will raise more awareness to incidents such as this but also hopes it encourages witnesses to speak out as well.
"Nobody came over, nobody helped. Just to yell out would go a tremendously long way. It's embarrassing to our society that nobody will help anymore," said Elliott.
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