More on this topic later but, … i was in San Fran and saw all this shooting craziness go down right f#$%ing in front of me including seeing the guy taking this picture (more at SF Chronicle). More to come on a Choogle on podcast episode. Gang inspired shooting into a crowded street, 9 shot, 1 trampled, no one killed, many police on motorcycles, much flesh and uhhh… creative costumes.
Note: Article shared here for posterity as no longer live online.
The Halloween shootings of nine people in the Castro — and the head injury to a woman during the ensuing chaos — began when a suspected gang member broke a bottle over the head of a reveler from another part of the city, whose friend then opened fire into the crowd on Market Street, San Francisco police said Wednesday.
No one has been arrested in connection with the 10:42 p.m. incident, in which nine rounds were fired into a densely packed crowd at an event policed by more than 600 officers and sheriff’s deputies.
Police say that although suspected gang members were involved, they have no proof the shootings were gang-related, and so the case is being investigated by the general work detail rather than the gang task force.
Authorities briefly detained someone seen running from the scene for questioning, but released him.
Police said Tuesday’s incident began with what Chief Heather Fong called a “stare-down” between about 15 members of a street gang based in the Sunnydale housing projects in Visitacion Valley and a similar-size group from the Lakeview area of the Ingleside district.
“Bad words were exchanged. One person hit somebody with the bottle — somebody in that group pulled out a firearm and started shooting,” Fong said.
Although nine people were shot, most were only grazed. Several of those hit were bystanders and had no connection to either group, investigators said.
Two people were hospitalized at San Francisco General Hospital, one of them a gunshot victim who was hit in the knee. The other person hospitalized — a 10th victim of the violence — was a woman who suffered a head injury when she fell or was trampled.
The shootings occurred on the 2200 block of Market Street, near the party’s main stage as well as one of the nine entrances to the Castro that police set up to screen partygoers for alcohol and weapons.
Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who led a contingent of 100 deputies, was about 30 feet from where the shots were fired and said he heard at least six in a matter of seconds.
“People screamed and ran toward me,” Hennessey said. “We were helping people hide behind Dumpsters, helping people calm down and leave.”
Fortunately, Hennessey said, “the panic was very short-lived.”
Harrison Brace, who saw the shootings from his third-floor apartment on Market Street, said the gunman appeared to be firing wildly.
“It took a second to sink in, then the crowd dove down,” Brace said. “They started knocking over barricades, and there was a lot of screaming. The police came very quickly.”
The shootings were by far the most serious incident in an event that authorities characterized as otherwise peaceful.
Two dozen people were arrested for being drunk in public, including one who allegedly resisted arrest.
Another man was arrested on suspicion of battery and resisting arrest.
Most of the estimated 100,000 people in the Castro were law-abiding and “mellow,” Hennessey said. The lines to get through the checkpoints extended for a block or more, but authorities found little that would indicate trouble would break out.
Deputies and police at the checkpoints “took away obvious weapons from people — spears, stakes, toy guns,” Hennessey said. “I don’t think we took away any real guns. . . . We also took walking canes, those types of things, anything you could swing and hit somebody and hurt him.”
Hennessey said the shootings happened just as officers and deputies were about to start dispersing partygoers under the city’s prearranged plan to shut down the event at 11 p.m.
“The big test would have been then, when everybody was going to be told to leave,” Hennessey said. “We don’t know how that would have worked.”
When the shots rang out, he said, “people ran. It was real easy to close off the event.”