A man hit a child in front of their parents as they walked near a notorious Downtown San Francisco drug use hot spot on Sunday but was allowed to walk free without arrest, police say.
San Francisco police responded to a report of a battery in the area of Sixth and Minna streets at around 12:41 p.m. Sunday, where police located a juvenile victim.
In 2022, just a block from the attack, a 16-year-old girl died from a suspected fentanyl overdose on Minna Street between Seventh and Eighth streets. Fentanyl is responsible for more than 500 overdose deaths in San Francisco as of August this year.
The victim's parents told officers they were walking in that area when an unknown male suspect punched their child, although no injuries were reported.
The family chased the suspect to a nearby hotel, where officers located and detained him, police said.
On Monday, a Reddit user posted they had just seen a blonde family of four "dressed in their Sunday best" chasing a homeless man down Minna Street as the father yelled, "somebody stop that man! (unintelligible) my daughter," who the poster said was between 8 and 10 years old.
Officers determined there was no probable cause to arrest the suspect and released him at the scene, police said.
Police did not provide further identifying information about the suspect, the victim or the victim's family who witnessed the attack.
The incident is still an active investigation, police said.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org