Hero cops faced with the choice of opening fire on a gunman on San Francisco’s streets Wednesday opted instead to tackle the convicted felon in a daring bust that ended without injury, police said.
Now the unnamed Tenderloin Station police officers have been nominated for a San Francisco Police Department commendation for their bravery.
“They saw a crowd of people and they didn’t feel it was safe to fire at him,” San Francisco police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said Thursday.
The veteran officers were sent to the 300 block of Ellis Street around 4 a.m. after a caller reported an armed man in the area. The caller gave a detailed description of the suspect, allowing the cops to easily identify him at the scene, Andraychak said.
The suspect was identified as career criminal Roderick Turner, 49, of San Francisco.
As soon as Turner saw the officers, he placed his right hand into his jacket pocket, turned and then walked away, Andraychak said. When the cops ordered him to stop, he started running.
As the officers chased after him, Turner allegedly reached into his right jacket pocket and pulled out a chrome .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with five rounds.
While the officers feared Turner might shoot at them, they saw a crowd of people at the corner of Ellis and Jones, so they decided against using their firearms, Andraychak said.
Instead, one of the officers sped up like a track star, catching up to Turner and grabbing him from behind. Turner, still clutching the handgun, turned around to face the cop. The cop, again fearing he'd be shot, threw Turner to the ground, causing him to lose grip on the gun, Andraychak said.
The gun fell onto the roadway and was quickly recovered by police. Turner was taken into custody without further incident.
According to Tenderloin police Capt. Joe Garrity, Turner is a career criminal with multiple felony convictions throughout the Bay Area for narcotics, assaults and theft.
He was booked on several firearms charges and resisting arrest, Andraychak said.
There have been a half dozen officer-involved shootings in San Francisco this year. SFPD was criticized following a September shooting in bustling North Beach in which cop bullets injured innocent bystanders.
For their heroic efforts Wednesday, the Tenderloin cops could receive honors anywhere from a captain’s commendation up to a medal of valor, Andraychak said.