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Man fatally shot at residential hotel in San Francisco, police say

Police stand outside the Seneca Hotel, where officers say a man was shot late Monday. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

A man was fatally shot Monday evening at a residential hotel in SoMa, according to San Francisco police.

SFPD's homicide detail arrived at 6:34 p.m. in response to a reported shooting at the Seneca Hotel, a 195-unit permanent supportive housing property at 34 Sixth St. run by the nonprofit Tenderloin Housing Clinic.

A staff member who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak about the incident told The Standard he called 911 at 6:21 p.m. after seeing a body on the stairs on the second floor.

The victim was identified Wednesday by the medical examiner's office as San Francisco resident Nicholas Smith, 39. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene despite life-saving efforts by police and paramedics, a police spokesperson said.

Authorities have yet to provide information about a suspect and did not say whether any arrests have been made.

Medical examiner personnel showed up at the hotel with a gurney around 9:15 p.m. as some tenants waited on the sidewalk for the police tape to come down so they could go back inside.

One of those residents, Matthew Dunlap, told The Standard he was descending from his third-floor apartment on his way to a tenant meeting when he walked right up to the crime scene.

Police taped off the stairwell at the Seneca Hotel, where a witness said he saw a man on the ground on the stairs on the second floor. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Dunlap said it was about 6:45 p.m. when he saw the victim, who he said looked to be in his early 40s, lying on the ground at the bottom of the stairs on the second floor with a police officer standing over him.

About a half-hour after the gurney arrived, it was carted out carrying a body wrapped in white sheets and hoisted into the back of a white van.

Officials are loading a covered stretcher into a medical examiner's van at night on a city street.
San Francisco medical examiner personnel load a body on a gurney into a van. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

SFPD declined to provide additional details at the crime scene, which remained active for several hours as investigators gathered evidence and eyewitness accounts late into the night.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at