$1M bail for suspect who allegedly pointed gun at San Francisco police 

click to enlarge San Francisco police approached Jesus Rodriguez in the 400 block of Broadway shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday believing he was involved in a drug deal, and during a pat-down search he took off and ran. (Examiner file photo) - SAN FRANCISCO POLICE APPROACHED JESUS RODRIGUEZ IN THE 400 BLOCK OF BROADWAY SHORTLY AFTER 2 A.M. SATURDAY BELIEVING HE WAS INVOLVED IN A DRUG DEAL, AND DURING A PAT-DOWN SEARCH HE TOOK OFF AND RAN. (EXAMINER FILE PHOTO)
  • San Francisco police approached Jesus Rodriguez in the 400 block of Broadway shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday believing he was involved in a drug deal, and during a pat-down search he took off and ran. (Examiner file photo)
  • San Francisco police approached Jesus Rodriguez in the 400 block of Broadway shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday believing he was involved in a drug deal, and during a pat-down search he took off and ran. (Examiner file photo)

The man accused of pointing a gun at San Francisco police while fleeing a drug arrest in North Beach over the weekend – prompting an officer to fire and accidentally hit two bystanders – was ordered held on $1 million bail in court Wednesday.

Jesus Rodriguez, 20, of San Pablo, appeared in court for the first time since his arrest early Saturday on charges of assault on a police officer with a firearm, exhibiting a deadly weapon at police with the intent to resist arrest, carrying a loaded firearm in public and marijuana possession. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to police, uniformed officers on foot patrol mistakenly identified Rodriguez as a felony suspect in a recently distributed crime bulletin, because he fit that description of that man.

The officers approached Rodriguez in the 400 block of Broadway shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday believing he was involved in a drug deal, and during a pat-down search he took off and ran, police and prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Jennifer Frost told a judge Wednesday that Rodriguez “poses a significant danger, both to police officers and the community.” She said after Rodriguez ran from officers, he slowed down in a nearby parking lot and turned around with a TEC-9 semiautomatic handgun extended.

One of the officers yelled, “Gun, gun, gun, gun,” Frost said, and Rodriguez turned and pointed the weapon directly at the officer, she said.

According to police, the officer then fired off one shot at Rodriguez. The bullet missed and apparently fragmented, police said. A man and a woman standing nearby were both struck in their leg.

Rodriguez then dropped his gun and was arrested, police said.

The shooting took place in a busy neighborhood replete with bars and strip clubs that were just closing for the night. About 200 people were walking in the area at the time, according to police.

At a recent public meeting, police Chief Greg Suhr defended the officer’s actions, saying “the alternative of having a suspect with this weapon … could’ve been a lot worse.”

Police have said Rodriguez’s weapon was loaded with 22 rounds, including one in the chamber.

In court, Rodriguez’s newly appointed public defender Cindy Elias said Rodriguez had no criminal convictions, though she acknowledged he had an arrest record. She said her client worked as a part-time landscaper and attended school.

Elias also questioned whether Rodriguez had actually pointed the weapon at officers, saying the initial police report did not indicate this, and that the detail was only in a subsequent chronological report from police written days later.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Oct. 4.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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