General Crime

Suspect who was shot at by an officer after a car chase and prompted many hours-long street closures in San Francisco

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A suspect who was shot at by an officer after a car chase and prompted many hours-long street closures in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood this afternoon eluded police. The chase began around noon when officers spotted a stolen Saab and tried to pull it over, Officer Albie Esparza said. The driver refused to yield and led officers on a brief pursuit, but police called off the chase because it was getting too dangerous, Esparza said.

A short time later, police learned of a collision that had occurred near 19th and Third streets in the city’s Dogpatch neighborhood, where the driver of the Saab had tried to squeeze through two cars and gotten jammed, according to Esparza. When police arrived, one officer drove toward the Saab trying to block the driver in, and at that point the suspect attempted to ram the officer’s car, Esparza said.

Esparza said that the officer felt threatened and fired multiple rounds at the suspect. It is not clear whether the suspect was hit by the gunfire, but he was able to accelerate away, police said. One person in another car suffered minor injuries in the Dogpatch collision and was treated at the scene, Esparza said. No officers were hurt, he said. Police soon found the Saab abandoned near 25th and Dakota streets and determined that the suspect had fled on foot, Esparza said.

Officers set up a perimeter around the public housing complex and conducted a unit-by-unit search, police said. The suspect was not found and the last police units left the housing area at 4:02 p.m., police said. The streets that had been blocked off around the complex were reopened around 3 p.m. Greg Kitchen, co-owner of the newly opened Triple Voodoo Brewery and Taproom at 2445 Third St., said he heard a car crash around 12:30 p.m. and then heard shots go off.

He said he was talking outside the doors of his brewery and saw a car zoom toward 19th Street from 20th Street before making a U-turn on 19th Street. Workers at Leo’s Tire and Automotive shop said the crash occurred near the 20th and Third Street intersection. One worker said he heard the screech of tires before at least two shots were fired.

Third Street between 19th and 22nd streets was closed for at least three hours, an employee at the Dogpatch Café at the corner of Third and 20th streets said. Police said they are not releasing a description of the suspect. Nearby Starr King Elementary School was placed on lockdown during the search, but by afternoon dismissal everything was back to normal and parents were able to pick up students, a school employee said. S

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