A month after a security guard at an Excelsior bar allegedly shot and killed a local man, community members voiced concerns about armed private security guards outside of local establishments at a public safety meeting.
The Office of District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai organized a panel of officials from the San Francisco Police Department, District Attorney’s Office and the nonprofit SF Safe to answer questions from 50 residents about the case and other safety concerns in the Crocker Amazon Clubhouse.
David Sanchez, a 45-year-old security guard at La Oficina, allegedly shot Alvaro Palma, 30, a few doors from the bar early on the morning of Sunday, May 28. Sanchez was later arrested and released without charges.
Community members, frustrated that the suspect had been let go, repeatedly asked the officials why the man had been released since there were multiple security cameras nearby among other questions.
Police officers checked all of the nearby security cameras for usable footage, according to Ingleside Police Station Capt. Joseph McFadden.
Assistant District Attorney Archie Wong would not confirm or deny any facts because the case is under investigation.
The suspect was released because the prosecuting attorney did not have enough evidence at the time of the arrest to prosecute, according to Wong.
“This is still an open investigation. It’s not done by a long way,” McFadden said later. “If you find out [that someone has a video] it might be that missing link we need.”
The case prompted a wider debate about who in the neighborhood should be allowed to carry weapons. Several residents said that the armed guards at Cookies, a medical cannabis dispensary, and other establishments made them feel unsafe in their own neighborhood.
“How are you assuring us that [the security guards on Mission Street] are carrying the proper permits, not under the table?” a resident asked. “This happened at La Oficina. How do we know it won’t happen somewhere else?”
California Department of Consumer Affairs, which regulates concealed carry permits, is pursuing an investigation of Sanchez’s permit, McFadden said.
“I do want you to know that I am not a proponent of people carrying guns in my district if they’re not police,” McFadden said.
McFadden said that his officers check whether MCD security officers’ permits are up to date. Many are required by contract to carry guns.
Safai, who campaigned on a platform of preventing more MCDs from opening in the district, added that MCDs in other parts of the city don’t have armed guards.
“We don’t have a problem with people having security guards, but we have heard consistently that people have a problem with businesses having armed security guards,” Safai said, adding that he would have the City Attorney look into whether the city could “disallow” armed security guards at MCDs in the neighborhood.
Officials encouraged residents and business owners to install security cameras to capture footage of future crimes.
Commenting on another open murder case, in which a man was found dead outside of a dentist’s office on the 1600 block of Alemany Boulevard on June 12, McFadden said that although SFPD hadn’t made an arrest residents shouldn’t be worried since the attack seemed targeted.
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