A shooting in the Excelsior district is the first homicide of 2010 in San Francisco — a year in which police Chief George Gascón has been challenged to keep the number of killings below the 45 slayings from 2009.
The first homicide of the new year was an unidentified man in his 20s who was found shot to death on a sidewalk early Sunday morning, according to the Police Department.
Officers responded to calls about a man down near the 500 block of Naples Street around 2:30 a.m., and found the man in the residential area with a single gunshot to the chest, Officer Boaz Mariles said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
There were witnesses, but Mariles said he could not reveal many details without tampering with the investigation. He did say, however, that the slaying did not appear to be gang-related and police do have leads in the case. As of Sunday no one had been arrested.
The number of homicides — which has been a hot-button political issue at City Hall — dropped dramatically in 2009 after almost reaching the triple digits for several consecutive years — a decline that mirrors nationwide trends.
As of Dec. 29, the Police Department had listed 45 slayings for the year — a 54 percent decrease from 2008 and the lowest tally since 1961, when there were 36. Last year’s record could still change if one death is ruled a suicide.
Mayor Gavin Newsom lauded the Police Department last week for the decrease in homicides and violent crime. He also challenged Gascón to further reduce the number of killings.
Newsom at a recent news conference cited strategies such as bolstering a task force expressly working with gang-violence and assigning officers specifically to housing developments.