Man fatally shot by police outside Mission station left suicide notes 

click to enlarge The man who was shot by police at the Mission Police Station parking lot told officers in a suicide note: “You ended the life of a man who was too much of a coward to do it himself.” - LAURA DUDNICK/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Laura Dudnick/s.f. examiner file photo
  • The man who was shot by police at the Mission Police Station parking lot told officers in a suicide note: “You ended the life of a man who was too much of a coward to do it himself.”

A note found by police appears to indicate that a 32-year-old man who was shot and killed by two officers Sunday intentionally confronted them in order to die.

One of several apparent suicide notes found by police on the man's phone after the Sunday evening incident outside of the Mission Police Station was directed at the officers, absolving them of any wrongdoing. The victim -- identified by the medical examiner's office as Matthew Hoffman -- who was later found to be carrying a BB gun, was fatally shot by officers after he reached for his waistband and pulled out the weapon, police said.

"You did nothing wrong," began the letter released by police Monday. "You ended the life of a man who was too much of a coward to do it himself. I provoked you. I threatened your life as well as the lives of those around me. You were completely within your legal rights to do what you did. You followed protocols. You did everything right. I just want to find peace within myself."

More information about the incident will be released tonight at a community meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Corner Stone Church at 3459 17th St.

Three officers were leaving the Mission station, at 630 Valencia St., around 5:20 p.m. Sunday when they spotted the white male suspect inside a parking lot marked for police only, Police Chief Greg Suhr said Sunday night.

The officers told the suspect to leave and got into their patrol car, believing they had made their point. But when the suspect remained in the driveway, the officers exited their car and approached the man telling him again to leave. The suspect then allegedly reached to his waistband and pulled what officers believed was a firearm, police said. That is when police fired their weapons and fatally wounded the man, who was pronounced dead at a hospital, Suhr said.

The incident was the day's second police-involved shooting and came on the heels of news in the case of a controversial officer-involved shooting in March that left a man dead.

The first incident Sunday came just after 8 a.m. when an officer responded to a burglary in the Financial District.

At 8:45 a.m. officers responded to a burglar alarm in the 400 block of Mason Street. During a building search, the suspect appeared and reportedly came at an officer. The officer fired his weapon in response, but the suspect was not hit and taken into custody, police said.

On Friday, the department released the names of the officers involved in the shooting death of Alejandro Nieto in Bernal Heights after being ordered to do so by a federal judge. The Nieto family has filed a lawsuit against The City in relation to the death.

According to the department, Sgt. Jason Sawyer and officers Roger Morse, Richard Schiff and Nathan Chew were among units that responded to a report of a man with a gun in Bernal Heights Park on March 21. When Nieto allegedly drew a weapon, which was later found to be a stun gun, the officers opened fire and killed him.

The names of the officers involved in both incidents Sunday will be released by the end of week.

Police Officer Albie Esparza said that no additional precautions were put into place because of Sunday's shooting incidents. Law enforcement officers always try to be mindful of their surroundings, but policing is one of the few jobs in which putting on a uniform makes you a target, Esparza noted.

"This just makes you more aware of the dangers of the job," he said of Sunday's fatal shooting.

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Bio:
Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
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