Man accused of shooting San Francisco officer may have had mental issues

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Officials say a man accused of shooting a San Francisco officer near Lakeshore Plaza died over the weekend and may have had mental issues.

The officer thankfully is recovering.

A security camera captured an image of the suspect who police identified as 26-year-old Nicholas McWherter.

He's the man police suspect of shooting San Francisco Ofc. Kevin Downs Friday night.

Police sources told ABC7 News McWherter had a P.O. Box at a post office in Pacifica, but he had been living they said in a white Ford van parked on the 1500 block of 17th Avenue.

"I noticed a white van parked outside of my house and it was there for several days. That was basically the only thing I noticed until Saturday night when I saw lights from a police car outside," neighbor Jeremy Bornstein said.

Police towed the van that night. Neighbor Abraham Drucker just found out the suspected shooter was living there. "It's a little bit terrifying, but at the same time you can't be scared of everything," he said.

It all started Friday evening when officers responded to calls saying someone was threatening shoppers at Lakeshore Plaza Shopping Center in the Sunset District.

After a chase, police said he shot at officers near Stern Grove, wounding Downs.

McWherter was shot after an exchange of gunfire and died Sunday at the hospital.

Over the weekend, San Francisco Police Department Interim Chief Toney Chaplin told reporters Downs was recovering from his head wound and was conscious.

Sources said McWherter was apparently struggling with mental health issues the last couple of months.

Those same sources say his parents tried unsuccessfully to help him.
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