San Francisco police release photo of suspected subway shooter

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco police Thursday were looking for a man who shot one person and wounded another on a subway train, then fled when the train stopped in the Castro neighborhood, the city’s historically LGBTQ neighborhood.

San Francisco police released a security camera photo late Wednesday of a man they identified as a person of interest and asked anyone with information to contact authorities.

The unidentified man is believed to have shot and killed a 27-year-old man and wounded a 70-year-old man as the train was leaving Forest Hill Station, police said.

The injured man was a bystander who was taken to the hospital with a knee injury, said San Francisco supervisor Myrna Melgar, whose neighborhood includes the Forest Hill neighborhood.

According to her, witnesses reported three or four shots and a “heated verbal argument” between the suspect and the deceased victim. She said the suspect ran out with other passengers when the train stopped.

This image from a video released by the San Francisco Police Department shows a person of interest following the shooting on a Muni subway train in San Francisco, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. One person was killed and another was injured in a subway shooting. a train that stopped in the city’s historically LGBTQ area just days before the Pride celebrations, police said. The shooting occurred shortly before 10 a.m. on a commuter train that was leaving a residential station towards a station in the city’s Castro district. (SFPD via AP)

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, representing Castro County, said the victim and suspect appeared to have known each other.

“It’s cold consolation, but it doesn’t look like it was accidental,” he said. “It was not someone who, you know, got on the train and just started shooting, which would have been even more terrible. It was terrible enough.”

Although authorities said the shooting was unrelated to upcoming Pride events, the death overshadowed the start of celebrations at a time when members of the LGBTQ community are facing heightened threats. including protests in libraries where transvestites read to children. The station where the suspect escaped is in the heart of San Francisco’s famed Castro neighborhood, which is known around the world for its LGBTQ activism.

“There have been horrific incidents across the country and even in the Bay Area. So people get nervous and I’m sure it won’t help. People need to be on the lookout,” Mandelman said.

It is believed to have been the first train shooting of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, also known as Muni. The agency operates most of the city’s public transportation, including trains, buses, streetcars, and San Francisco’s famous cable cars.

“The incident that happened this morning is troubling and is another reason why we need to do more to prevent gun violence,” Melgar said in a statement. “There are too many weapons in our society that turn a verbal argument into a senseless death of a young life.”

Erica Kato, a spokesperson for the transit agency, said she did not know how many passengers were on board, but noted that the total number of passengers is about half what it was before the pandemic. She said the number of passengers in downtown San Francisco is even lower.

The shooting comes just four days before the San Francisco gay pride parade, which usually draws thousands of people from all over the world.

However, there was little traffic on the sidewalk on Wednesday morning.

“Never heard of anything like this here,” said Dino Nasher, manager of Castro Smoke House. “It’s a bit of a concern for the area because Pride is happening this weekend and they’re trying to be as safe as possible and when something like that happens, they kind of get nervous.”

San Francisco police spokeswoman Officer Katherine Winters said all trains and Muni subway stations have cameras and police are reviewing the footage.

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