Police in San Francisco are looking for a shooter who last week opened fire on a crowded commuter train, killing one person and injuring another.
A picture of a “person of interest” in the investigation has now been made public by the authorities.
Just before 10am, as the light rail train was traveling between stops, the police said they were alerted to allegations of gunfire on a San Francisco Muni train.
According to a tweet from the San Francisco Police Department, officers were initially summoned to the city’s Forest Hill Muni station for a report of a gunshot, but by the time they arrived, the train had already left.
They were able to catch up to the commuter train at the crowded Castro Street Station, where passengers including the alleged gunman fled as soon as the train came to a stop and the doors opened.
‘Most of the people from the train exited the train quickly,’ Officer Kathryn Winters said in a follow-up news conference, adding that the police were unsure of how crowded the train or station had been at the time of the shooting.
Two victims were discovered at the scene, and a 27-year-old man was pronounced dead despite firefighters attempting CPR, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The other victim, a 70-year-old woman was brought to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center after reportedly being shot in the knee. She is expected to survive.
An investigation into the shooting is ongoing, and on Wednesday night, San Francisco police released still pictures from a surveillance camera of a ‘person of interest’ in the case.
It shows a black man in a black hoodie and jeans, wearing white sneakers and a black baseball cap with blue headphones around his neck and carrying a red backpack.
Police are now asking ‘this person to come forward and speak with investigators.’ They have previously described the suspect as a male of an unknown race wearing dark clothes and a hooded jacket.
Anyone with information is also asked to call the San Francisco Police Department’s tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with ‘SFPD.’ All callers may remain anonymous.
The shooting reportedly came after the gunman and the deceased victim got into a verbal argument, according to Supervisor Myrna Melgar.
‘The shooter pulled out a gun and shot the guy he was arguing with,’ Melgar told the Chronicle. ‘The second victim was not involved in the verbal altercation but just happened to be right next to the other victim.’
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who represents the Castro District, also said the victim and the suspect appeared to have known each other.
‘It’s cold comfort, but it does not appear that this was random,’ he told ABC 7. ‘It was not someone who, you know, got on the train and just started shooting, which would have been even more horrible.
‘This was horrible enough.’
Melgar, who urged any riders who were on the train and observed the shooting to contact police right once, claimed that witnesses heard three to four gunshots just as the train was departing the Forest Hill Station.
Authorities also made an effort to reassure the public that the incident did not appear to be related to a nearby Pride Parade that is scheduled to take place soon.
In a statement, the police stated that they ‘would like to assure community members and visitors that this incident appears to be isolated and that we do not believe it is related to Pride festivities or was targeting any group or community.’
The incident occurs just a few weeks after Bay Area voters unseated District Attorney Chesa Boudin over an uptick in crime.
Residents accused the DA of failing to do enough to keep citizens safe and of enacting regulations that permitted habitual offenders to commit crimes without fear of reincarceration.
Total crime is up 7.4 percent from last year, with larceny thefts up 19 percent and assaults up 12.2 percent from the same period in 2021, according to the most recent San Francisco Police Department statistics.
The crime wave has seen an increase in a sort of robbery known as “smash-and-grabs,” in which thieves boldly pillage a store’s shelves in broad daylight, sometimes evading prosecution due to Boudin’s permissive standards.
It has led stores throughout the city to close in order to avoid being targeted in the deliberate – and frequently coordinated – strikes.
On June 7, more than 70,730 of the nearly 118,000 voters cast a ballot against the district attorney.
Although he lost, Boudin, 41, remained unflinching and blamed the setback on wealthy Republicans and even the local police force in a speech.
‘The right-wing billionaires outspent us three to one,’ he said, going on to assert that citizens had been ‘exploited’ by these groups, saying they ‘took advantage an environment in which people are appropriately upset.’
‘They created an electoral dynamic where we were literally shadowboxing,’ Boudin, who narrowly won office in November 2019 as part of a wave of woke prosecutors who vowed to seek alternatives to incarceration, said.
He claimed the Republican and conservative ‘playbook involves delegitimizing and fear-mongering and recalling.
‘It’s a tactic being used by folks who are increasingly unable to prevail in elections when they put forward their views about public safety and justice.’
While acknowledging that the pandemic had voters understandably frustrated, Boudin placed the blame for this on city officials who he claimed had failed to deliver on safety, housing, and equity as murders and assaults increased from last year, which was one of the worst years for crime the city had ever experienced.
He said Tuesday: ‘We have two cities. We have two systems of justice. ‘
‘We have one for the wealthy and the well connected and a different one for everybody else.’
‘And that’s exactly what we are fighting to change.’
He added: ‘This was never about one vote count. It was never about one election night party. This is a movement, not a moment in history.’