Two Fisherman’s Wharf merchants were slain by a businessman from a rival store Sunday night in an apparent dispute over the sale of similar merchandise, San Francisco police said.
The suspect, 56-year-old Hong Ri Wu, of San Francisco, was taken into custody at the shop at 269 Jefferson St. where he allegedly shot Qiong Han Chu, a 30-year-old man, and Feng Ping Ou, a 30-year-old woman, police said.
Police said Wu, a competitor at a nearby store who knew the victims, walked into the store and allegedly shot Chu and Ou. The victims, both San Francisco residents, were pronounced dead at the scene.
“It’s a dispute between merchants regarding the selling of similar items,” police spokesman Sgt. Troy Dangerfield said.
Interim police Chief Jeff Godown called the shootings an “isolated incident.” A gun believed to be the murder weapon was recovered at the scene, he said.
Wu was booked into San Francisco County Jail on Monday morning on two counts of murder, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Police are hoping that two tourists, a man and a woman who were in the store at the time and spoke briefly with police but did not leave their contact information, will come forward.
According to shop owners and workers in the area, Wu ran a shop next door to where the homicides occurred. They said that the dispute was reportedly over the selling of the same knockoff purse.
Shots rang out at 269 Jefferson St. around 8:20 p.m., while the sidewalks were packed with shoppers and tourists, police said.
Ted Kim, who runs a neighboring souvenir store, Grace Land Shirts and Gifts, said the shots “sounded like fireworks.” He said he heard up to five shots.
A merchant on the block described the salesman who was killed as “very nice.” “He always had a smile on his face,” said Frank Faiz. “Every time you see him in the morning, he waves and says ‘good morning.’”
The store where the homicides occurred sells everything from souvenirs to sweaters and luggage. It is located in the heart of the Fisherman’s Wharf shopping strip, between Joe’s Crab Shack and Pearl Factory.
Tourists said they felt somewhat comforted that the shooting wasn’t random, however, they said they are wary of crime at Fisherman’s Wharf. “There’s some sketchiness attached to it,” said Sunshine Punzalan, 33, who was visiting with her boyfriend from Toronto.
Dangerfield said that the store would likely be closed to patrons over the next couple of days.
“I can't imagine that the store would carry on business as usual,” he said. "I mean, these people were shot and killed in there.”
Bay City News contributed to this report.