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Gang dispute fueling violence in San Francisco

Gang dispute fueling violence in San Francisco
By: Mike Aldax | 08/01/12 5:57 PM
SF Examiner Staff Writer | Follow on Twitter @SFExMikeAldax
Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
The site of the shooting was the 3000 block of San Bruno Avenue, not far from a Visitation Valley neighborhood plagued with multiple killings in the recent weeks. Four shooting deaths since Sunday have been the result of a raging dispute between members of one vicious gang, police said Wednesday.

“Just a couple of weeks ago these guys were friends,” police Chief Greg Suhr said. “But now they’ve turned on each other.”

Although Suhr did not name the gang, at least three of the dead have been linked to the brutal Towerside posse of Visitacion Valley. Known for warring with the Down Below Gangsters of the nearby Sunnydale housing projects, something recently sparked within the relatively small gang that has led to a series of brutal public deaths.

The latest killing occurred about 10 p.m. Tuesday in the Portola district. Two men in their 20s shot 26-year-old Edmundo Sandoval in the head and his uncle in the torso as the victims stood in front of a home in the 3000 block of San Bruno Avenue, police Officer Gordon Shyy said.

Sandoval was pronounced dead at the scene, Shyy said, and his 53-year-old uncle remained in critical condition Wednesday.

The suspects fled and there have been no arrests.

The incident followed two separate shootings in Visitacion Valley on Monday that killed two Towerside veterans.

About 1:15 p.m. on Burr Avenue — a reported gang hangout — a “huge fight” led to the deaths of 27-year-old Frederick “Ace” Glaspie and 25-year-old Marche Daniels.

The victims had been named in a 2010 gang injunction that barred certain members, including Glaspie, from the neighborhood. Later that day, a drive-by shooting aimed at a group standing on a sidewalk missed its mark, striking only a passing vehicle.

However, the day before, 18-year-old Elijah Hopkins — also connected to Towerside — was found shot to death in Diamond Heights.

The violence in Visitacion Valley has persisted since May. Six people have been killed in shootings, though it’s unknown whether they are all connected.

In reaction, Suhr said he’s flooded the neighborhood with cops, some of whom are trying to act as peacekeepers as much as enforcers.

“We’re trying to save them from themselves,” Suhr said of the gang members.

The chief also has asked the community not to celebrate their deaths, but instead work to prevent them. After Diondre Young, who also was named in the gang injunction, was found shot dead in Rincon Hill on March 30, he was given a hero’s funeral, with his casket paraded down Sunnydale Avenue.

Supervisor John Avalos, who called a public safety hearing last week regarding an uptick in violence in The City, said more is needed than just a lot of cops.

“Certain neighborhoods are in crisis and are desperate for leadership and dramatic action from The City,” Avalos said. “We need trauma services, family support services and jobs.”

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