Armed men in ski masks fired five times into the open doors of a red SUV in San Francisco’s busy North Beach neighborhood on Sunday night, a witness said.
Three masked men pulled up in a white car, got out of their vehicle, headed to the red SUV and opened fire.
Shortly after, three other men exited the red vehicle and shot twice at the instigators as they attempted to flee the scene, hitting one man in the chest, a witness said.
The shooting happened at around 11 p.m. Sunday near Grant and Columbus avenues, a busy area popular with tourists that's home to a number of bars and restaurants—including the Condor Club, a famous topless bar.
"I heard bang, bang, bang, bang," said Wyatt Stillman, who lives on Vallejo Street near Columbus Avenue. "I joked to my girlfriend, 'Oh maybe it's just fireworks.'"
Stillman said shortly after he heard the noise, he walked outside to smoke and saw the feet of someone lying on the ground being resuscitated by police.
"It didn't look like it was going very well," Stillman said. “This is the closest this sort of violence has ever come to my doorstep. It’s pretty unsettling.”
A cashier at Nick’s Liquor at the Columbus and Grant intersection said he saw the shooting happen right in front of him when he was working late Sunday.
"It's shocking," said the cashier who asked not to be named due to safety concerns. "I've never seen that happen in this city."
San Francisco police said officers responded to the shooting Sunday at 10:58 p.m. near Grant and Columbus avenues and found a 23-year-old man from Solano County suffering from a gunshot wound who later died at the scene.
Officers located two other shooting victims nearby, two 24-year-old men from Sacramento County. Officers gave the men medical aid and summoned medics to the scene. The two victims were transported to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Two more shooting victims, a 22-year-old man from Alameda County and a 20-year-old woman from Contra Costa County, were transported separately to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police were seen entering Nick’s Liquor on Monday at around 4:36 p.m., where they spoke with the clerk and asked for video footage of the incident.
Police said the incident was not a random attack, and are investigating it as an isolated incident. No arrests have been made at this time.
Police data shows that homicides are rare in North Beach, with one homicide in 2022 and one in 2021 recorded by the local SFPD Central Station. This shooting marks the second homicide in the police station's area this year, according to police data.
There were 14 homicides citywide in 2023 as of April 23, compared to 15 during the same period in 2022. Homicide rates citywide have steadily ticked up since 2019, with 56 homicides in 2022 compared with 41 in 2019.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at email@example.com