A 22-year-old man suspected of intentionally hitting a Cal Fire firefighter with his SUV in San Francisco’s Richmond District early Thanksgiving morning was arrested late Tuesday, police said. Eduardo Esquivel was arrested shortly before midnight at his home in South San Francisco after being identified by a San Francisco police officer who recognized him from surveillance video footage. The firefighter, Albert Bartal, 29, was run down after getting into a fight with another man at a restaurant near 11th Avenue and Geary Boulevard around 3:45 a.m. Thursday. The men were separated and both left the restaurant.
While Bartal walked to a gas station at Ninth Avenue and Geary Boulevard, the other man got into his car, drove to the gas station and struck him, according to police. Bartal, who remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, has worked for the past five years as a seasonal firefighter at Cal Fire’s Saratoga Summit Fire Station in Santa Cruz County, fire Capt. Jonathan Cox said. Esquivel was arrested after investigators released photos and a surveillance video of the suspect taken inside the restaurant. He is in custody on suspicion of attempted murder, mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon and assault with great bodily injury, police said. The vehicle used to strike Bartal remains missing.
The vehicle is described as a black SUV, possibly a Ford Edge or Mazda, with front-end damage.
Anyone with information about the car’s whereabouts is encouraged to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411. Earlier this week, police also announced that a relief fund has been set up for Bartal. People may make donations to account No. 1379608 at the San Francisco Police Credit Union at 2550 Irving St., CA 94122.
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