EXCLUSIVE: SFFD tries to keep firefighter's arrest, colleague's brutal beating under wraps

It appears some disagreement on the job between Robert Muhammad and Gabriel Shin turned into an attack in the off hours.

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Thursday, May 19, 2022
EXCLUSIVE: SF firefighter charged in other firefighter's beating
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A San Francisco firefighter is facing felony charges after an attack on another firefighter. SFFD tried to keep this quiet, then the I-Team was called.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco firefighter is facing felony charges after a brutal attack on another firefighter. The department has tried to keep this quiet over the past several weeks until a source there called the I-Team's Dan Noyes.

No one involved in this case -- the firefighters, their lawyers, or the fire chief - would agree to an on-camera interview. But we've been able to piece the story together through sources, court documents, and other information obtained under the California Public Records Act.

The I-Team obtained the mugshot for 47-year-old Robert Muhammad. He has pleaded not guilty to felony assault with a deadly weapon, with several enhancements and one special allegation -- great bodily injury.

The victim, 56-year-old Gabriel Shin, told police "he has known Muhammad for over 20 years as they are both firefighters for the City of San Francisco."

It appears some disagreement on the job turned into an attack in the off hours. Here's what happened.

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Sources tell Dan Noyes that on the morning of Feb. 1, Muhammad went to Station 25 on Third Street, retrieved Shin's home address from a fire department computer, and left with what's called a hydrant spanner, a heavy, brass wrench measuring about 15 inches used to turn hydrants on and off.

He drove across the bridge to Shin's home in Oakland and confronted him. The argument escalated with Muhammad allegedly striking Shin with that spanner.

Emergency operator: "911 emergency, what are you reporting?"

Neighbor: "Yes, somebody's being beat with a wrench on 9th Avenue and East 19th Street."

A neighbor reported the violent attack, but got the victim's gender wrong.

Neighbor: "It looks like a lady's being beat with a wrench, some kind of iron object."

By the time police arrived, Muhammad was gone.

An ambulance transported Shin to Highland Hospital where doctors "determined he had suffered a broken left arm, swollen right arm, and concussion as a result of the assault."

One week later, Muhammad self-surrendered at Santa Rita Jail to face charges.

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The victim's attorney, Jim Torres, agreed to an interview but then backed out. Over the phone, he criticized San Francisco Fire Department officials.

Torres told us Robert Muhammad "displayed acts of aggression" toward colleagues and superiors for over a decade. He called it "a pattern that went undocumented and unaddressed." Torres also claimed, within 48 hours of the attack, fire department brass urged Gabriel Shin to drop the charges.

We wanted to ask San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson about all that, but her spokesman said she would not be available because this is an "HR matter."

Muhammad's attorney also declined to be interviewed for this report. Muhammad is out of jail after posting $30,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court next month.

Take a look at more stories by the ABC7 News I-Team here.

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