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Bottle collector shot dead as fight breaks out in popular San Francisco nightlife area

A recycling collector was shot dead at the intersection of 19th Street and Mission Street during an early morning incident of Sunday Aug. 21, 2022. A sign placed on his truck that asked traffic tickets to cease because of the incident. | Courtesy photo

A recycling collector who was covering for a friend was shot dead as he arrived at a Mission District bar for work Sunday.

The man, whose identity officials have yet to release, was shot while getting tacos at the corner of Mission and 19th streets, according to eyewitnesses who asked not to be named.

A local worker present for the shooting, which happened at around 2:23 a.m. after a fight broke out, identified the man who died as the bar’s recycles collector for the night—their usual bottle and can collector was out of the country.

Camera footage seen by The Standard shows another man on an electric scooter who appears to be intoxicated shouting at a group of younger men at 2:22 a.m.

The scooter-rider is then seen being jumped by two of the younger men before passersby throw a bottle at the attackers as they flee at 2:23 a.m.

Three shots can then be heard on the security footage, followed by a man screaming in pain and saying, “I can’t breathe,” at 2:24 a.m. It was unclear where the shots originated from.

A recycling collector was shot dead at the intersection of 19th Street and Mission Street during an early morning incident of Sunday Aug. 21, 2022. His truck, pictured, was towed Monday morning. | Joe Burn/The Standard

“The recycling guy was laying down on the sidewalk, eventually they [paramedics] were putting electric pad things on his chest,” an eyewitness who works at a local business said. “That was not our normal recycling guy.”

The victim’s work vehicle was being towed when The Standard arrived at the scene on Monday morning.

A cardboard sign placed on the windshield read: “Stop giving ticket (sic) to this vehicle because the person died recently from a gunshot wound at this place, thanks.”

Police sources say three people were shot—one fatally—in what was initially reported as a botched robbery in the Mission over the weekend.

Police said a group of bystanders tried to intervene by throwing rocks and bottles at four alleged suspects. When the suspects fled, one hesitated, turned and shot at the group of people who tried to help.

A Monday police press release said officers found three victims suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, and one suffering from other non-life-threatening injuries.

The three victims were transported to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Despite lifesaving efforts by medical personnel, one of the victims succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital. A fourth victim was treated and released at the scene.

Investigators from the San Francisco Police Homicide Detail are leading this investigation.

Across town, another homicide was discovered the same morning by police when they responded to a reported stabbing at Wallace Ave and Jennings Street at 7:32 a.m. When police arrived they found the victim already dead. No arrests have been made in that case.

Jonah Owen Lamb contributed additional reporting for this story.
Joe Burn can be reached at