San Francisco police say shootings appear targeted
San Francisco — An afternoon shooting of three people in a popular city park full of children and sun bathers appears to have been a targeted incident that may have gang ties, San Francisco police said Friday.
No arrests have been made, and investigators are looking into whether the shooting was gang-related, among other possible motives, police spokesman Robert Rueca said.
Two of three victims remained hospitalized Friday, one in serious condition. Police declined to identify the victims, ages 69, 37 and 16.
Rueca said police have stepped up patrols around the park, the rapidly gentrifying Mission District that is transforming from a gritty area to a popular neighborhood of expensive homes, trendy bars and restaurants.
The shooting occurred shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday on a bridge that connects the park to the neighborhood and spans streetcar tracks, police said. Two groups of men confronted each other on the bridge before the shooting began, witnesses said. Some of the men were wearing bandanas to cover their faces, witnesses said.
Antonia Juhasz, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years, was reading a book on a bench when she heard gunshots. At first, she thought they might be firecrackers, Juhasz said.
Then she saw a man holding a gun.
The park, which sits on a hill, was crowded with people, including children in a playground and running around the grass.
“At first people didn’t totally react because it sounded like fireworks,” said Juhasz, a writer and freelance journalist. “I was yelling at people, ‘It’s actually a gun, it’s actually a gun.’ “
She started shooing children to get down, then crouched behind a trash can and called 911, Juhasz told the Chronicle.
Other people dove into the grass, crouched behind trees or benches or ran into the streets.
Josh Long of San Francisco told the newspaper that he was about 20 yards away from the shooting. He saw a bloody victim writhing on the ground and a man in a hoodie pulled over his head sprinting away, Long said.
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