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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

49ers and Raiders Violence Wasn't Gang Related, Police Say

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 12:00 AM

click to enlarge There were plenty of "bad fans" at the stadium Saturday night - CAROLINE CHEN
  • Caroline Chen
  • There were plenty of "bad fans" at the stadium Saturday night
Although fans are still reeling from Saturday night's violence during the the 49ers and Raiders preseason game, police say the incident was atypical and not gang related.

At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Jim Mecurio, vice president of Candlestick's operations and security, tried his best to reassure 49ers fans that Candlestick Park is no breeding ground for trouble.

"Please, we ask you to come back," Mecurio pleaded with 49ers fans.

Mercurio was joined by Mayor Ed Lee, SFPD Chief Greg Suhr, and 49ers president and owner Jed York -- all of whom pledged to increase security at Candlestick Park after two shootings and multiple fights that left three men in the hospital.

But more importantly, York confirmed that the 49ers and Raiders annual preseason game was indefinitely postponed.

"The incidents have increased over the last several years when those two teams have gotten together, and we want to make sure that starts to die down," York told reporters gathered at the stadium Monday afternoon.

Suhr and Lee both stressed that the violent fights and shootings during the Saturday game were extraordinary -- and Suhr had statistics to prove it.

On Saturday, there were 4,700 spectators -- one-third the usual crowd. Yet SFPD increased its security by 10 percent, anticipating unruly fans. When the fights started, SFPD called in even more officers, increasing security by 40 percent compared to an average game, he said. Suhr wouldn't say how many officers were on the ground, so as to not reveal officer placement.

Suhr went on to say that 90 medical calls were made on Saturday night, of which 50 were ambulance calls and 40 were for Rock Med, an organization that provides first aid to the stadium. During an average game, there are usually seven to 10 medical calls made. "This game was like none other I can remember, and I've been a 49ers fan my whole life," Suhr said.

Currently, all three victims -- two were shot and one man was badly beaten -- are in fair condition. One person of interest is in custody, however no arrests have been made. Police are running tests on his hand, looking for gunshot powder.

Candlestick Park officials said they will also tighten the rules, especially when it comes to alcohol. Mecurio said they will add more alcohol management teams, and that the SFPD will crack down on people tailgating and drinking outside of the stadium before the games start. One new rule: After kickoff, anyone without a ticket will be asked to leave and those with tickets must enter the stadium. In other words, no more tailgating once the game starts.

The group pointed out that one problem could be that many regular season ticket holders had sold their tickets online for Saturday's game, drawing on different crowds. Lee, who was at the game during kickoff, but left before the fights broke out, said season ticket holders need to have a better sense of who they are selling their tickets to.

"We have to have them help us with more responsible exchange of these tickets," he said. "There needs to be a higher level of accountability."

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Caroline Chen

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