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Beloved San Francisco homeless woman killed after robbery in quiet neighborhood

A red bus stops near a crosswalk by the Glen Park Market, on a cloudy and likely rainy day.
The Glen Park Market | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

A beloved local homeless woman died after sustaining injuries when she was robbed in Glen Park, San Francisco police said.

Debra Hord was well known in the community for random acts of kindness and compliments to passersby, according to local residents' social media posts on Nextdoor in the wake of her death. 

The 57-year-old is believed to have lived in the area for around 15 years and forged a strong connection with Glen Park Market owner Jung Ho Lee, whom Hord would affectionately call “Mama.” 

A person in a black cap and hoodie with a red neck scarf is outdoors, gazing to the side, with trees and rocks in the background.
Debra Hord | Courtesy Stephen Labovsky

Hord died in the hospital on March 23 following a suspected robbery attempt on March 2 that saw her slammed to the ground, sustaining a head injury, according to Lee. 

Lee arrived at her store, known as Mama’s Market locally, just minutes after the incident, and saw Hord’s face covered in blood. Lee’s husband witnessed the robbery and her store’s surveillance cameras captured the incident. The couple turned the evidence over to police.

Lee said Hord would clean the sidewalks near the market and even help Lee load groceries into her car.

“She would wait there for me,” Lee said. “It was really helpful because my husband is handicapped.”

A hand holds a phone displaying a CCTV image of a person, with shelves of bottles in the blurry background.
Glen Park Market owner Jung Ho Lee believes the man pictured in the still image from her store's surveillance footage is the suspect in Debra Hord's death. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Lee said a man approached Hord at around 6:30 a.m. March 2 and asked for money before pushing her to the ground. Lee said that Hord hit the ground hard and that her nose was bleeding.

"She said, ‘Mommy, I don't feel very good; I'm going to go home,’” Lee said.

Lee later learned from police at around 8 a.m. that Hord was hospitalized and in a coma due to brain damage. Lee said that Hord was taken off life support on March 23. 

“I miss her so much,” Lee said. "Debra was all over. Everybody knew Debra.” 

A sidewalk with a storefront; an open security gate reveals ads and a lottery sign on the door.
The robbery happened in front of the entrance of Glen Park Market, according to the store owners and police. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Police say the incident is being investigated as a homicide and remains an open investigation. The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Hord’s identity with The Standard.

Glen Park News first reported Hord's death, which comes amid heightened tensions between homeless people on San Francisco’s streets and housed residents in the wake of an alleged assault on a former city official and businessman. 

In April, homeless man Garrett Doty was accused of attacking businessman Don Carmignani with a metal pipe. Doty's attorney said that Doty was acting in self-defense, and that there were eight incidents where a man the attorney says matches Carmignani’s description bear-sprayed homeless people around the Marina District. Carmignani strongly denies the man caught on video near his home assaulting homeless people is him. Doty was released from jail pending trial.

Correction: This story was updated with the proper spelling of Garrett Doty’s name.