Police will honor one of their own with a memorial service today — 18 years after he was fatally shot while in the line of duty by a heavily armed and armored drifter.
On Nov. 13, 1994, San Francisco Police Department Officer James Guelff was killed by a carjacking suspect at Pine and Franklin streets, where the 6 p.m. memorial will be held. The public is invited to attend.
The carjacking suspect was later identified as 37-year-old Victor Boutwell.
According to media sources, Boutwell had spent the previous six years living out of the back of his van. Before he snapped, he told a relative, “You’re gonna be surprised at what I’m going to do.” Boutwell then stole a car in Mountain View, pushing the driver out. He drove to San Francisco, double-parked at Pine and Franklin streets and unleashed 25 minutes of terror, spraying gunfire at passers-by and police.
Guelff was the first officer on the scene.
Upon Guelff’s arrival, Boutwell — who was wearing a ballistic helmet and flak jacket and carrying hundreds of rounds of ammunition — opened fire at Guelff, who emptied his service weapon and was reloading when he was shot to death, police said.
Boutwell’s full body armor allowed him to fend off 120 armed police officers before a SWAT team sniper fatally shot him, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Guelff served on San Francisco’s police force for 10 years and is survived by two children.