An apparent gang war in Visitacion Valley is heating up, with three neighborhood men killed in the past two days to bring the total there to eight homicides this year.
The latest slayings occurred in broad daylight Monday on Burr Avenue, a gang bastion in the heart of one of the neighborhood’s housing projects, police said. About 1:15 p.m., police said, two men were shot dead after a “huge fight” near Argonaut Avenue, located on the stomping grounds of the vicious Towerside gang.
The suspects fled and were not arrested, police Officer Albie Esparza said. The victims, who have not been identified, later died at San Francisco General Hospital.
Monday’s incident followed the fatal shooting Sunday morning in Diamond Heights of 18-year-old Elijah Hopkins, who also was connected to Burr Avenue. Hopkins, who also went by Earl Flocka, was found dead at 9:40 a.m. in the backyard of a home on Carnelian Way, police said.
Family and friends who mourned Hopkins on Twitter identified him as someone who frequented Burr Avenue. Rather than “rest in peace,” some memorialized Hopkins by tweeting “Burr in Peace.”
Residents have become increasingly exhausted by the violence.
“I’m not in this s---, you know, but it’s messed,” said a man in his 20s who wished to remain anonymous.
Another male resident said violence has been increasing in the past month or so.
“I know guys in this s---,” said the man, who also wished to remain anonymous. “I been trying to keep them in the house, you know, but this s--- is crazy.”
In April, alleged Towerside leader Diondre Young’s slain body was given a hero’s tribute when his coffin was paraded through the neighborhood. Even then, police had to ramp up patrols to quell a possible feud between Towerside and the nearby Down Below Gangsters, who are based in the Sunnydale housing projects. Both gangs were allegedly responsible for more than 10 killings during a three-year period starting in 2007.
Homicide investigators have not said whether the past few days’ shootings were related.
At a public-safety hearing at City Hall last week, police Cmdr. John Loftus said a possibly “gang-motivated” May homicide in the Oceanview neighborhood appeared to have set in motion some of the recent Sunnydale homicides.
Police Chief Greg Suhr, at that same meeting, said his department’s response to the violence has seemingly been effective, adding that July was less troublesome than June.
That, of course, was before three people lost their lives to gun violence in the past two days.
“We can’t keep them from doing this s--- to each other,” said a female police officer at the scene of Monday’s shooting.
An increase in shootings this year has prompted Mayor Ed Lee to suggest that The City consider a stop-and-frisk policy like that of New York City, with the end goal of getting guns off the streets. The Board of Supervisors recently denounced such a policy as encouraging racial profiling.