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Monday, January 5, 2015

Cops Kill Man Armed With Replica Gun

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 6:43 AM

Update: Police claim letters in man's phone indicate he induced officers to shoot him in successful suicide attempt. See end

San Francisco police shot and killed a man who was armed with an air pistol while trespassing onto a restricted area of the Mission Police Station last night. 

Officer say the man, who has not been identified, was loitering in the restricted area of the police parking lot around 5 p.m. A pair of  sergeants approached the suspect and instructed the man to leave the restricted parking lot. The suspect initially did what he was told and started to walk toward the driveway out of the police station. 

Then things turned bad. 

According to Officer Albie Esparza, the sergeants were walking to their vehicles when they noticed the man had not actually left the lot, as he was told.  "He was now was standing in the middle of the driveway staring at them and blocking their exit," he says.

The cops got out of their cars and once again asked the man to leave. 

The man began to back out of the parking lot, facing the sergeants with his hands in his front shirt pockets. The sergeants ordered the man to show his hands.

"Upon clearing the threshold of the parking lot, he lifted up his sweater and officers could see what appeared to be the butt of a handgun," Esparza says. "Fearing for their safety and in the defense of their lives, the sergeants drew their service weapons as the suspect pulled the weapon from his waistband. Two sergeants discharged their firearms, striking the suspect three times."

The man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he died just before 8 p.m. Medical authorities had not identified him as of this morning. 

It was later discovered the weapon was an air pistol (either a BB or pellet), Esparza says. 

Police say the man was lingering around the police station earlier that day, asking officers what kind of guns SFPD carry, what kind of ammunition, and if they’d had been involved in any officer-involved shootings. The officers did not interact with the curious man, but carried on investigating another call for service at 16th and Mission streets.  The man stayed around the area but eventually left.

Police say the shooting is being investigated by the department's Homicide Detail, Internal Affairs Division, District Attorney’s Office and Office of Citizen Complaints as standard protocol. The sergeants will be placed on standard paid administrative leave.

A town hall meeting discussing the officer involved shooting will be forthcoming in the next week. Stay tuned. 

Update, 5:35 p.m.: Police claim they found a letter in the phone of the man shot dead last night after allegedly brandishing an air pistol at officers. It is, unabashedly, a suicide note: 

Dear Officer(s),

You did nothing wrong. You ended the life of a man who was too much of a coward to do it himself. I provoked you. I threatened your life as well as the lives of those around me. You were completely within your legal rights to do what you did. You followed protocols. You did everything right. I just want to find peace within myself. I am so sad and I am so lonely. There is no place for me here. Please, don’t blame yourself. I used you. I took advantage of you. I am so lost and I am so hopeless. God made a mistake with me. I shouldn’t be here. Please, take solace in knowing that the situation was out of your control. You had no other choice. 

The city's Medical Examiner has not yet released the 32-year-old's name. The letter above was released with the consent of the dead man's father. 

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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