More violence in Lower Haight, Western Addition 

After four shootings in less than 24 hours left two people dead and two others injured in the Western Addition and Lower Haight, police Monday searched for a connection between the violent incidents and sent extra resources to the neighborhood to stem any additional violence. Thestring of shootings, which began Sunday morning and continued into Monday’s early hours, followed a spate of violence two weeks ago.

The rash of fatal gunfire in the Lower Haight and Western Addition in late January caused frustrated neighborhood residents to pack a local church for a raucous community meeting at which they called for more police presence and long-term solutions to street violence.

As The City’s homicide rate has increased in recent years, the Western Addition has become a hotbed of violent activity. In 2006, a shooting in the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, often seen as a safe haven for the community’s children, sparked outrage. In 2007, at least five fatal shootings have marred the Western Addition and Lower Haight neighborhoods.

The most recent spate of violence started at 10:10 a.m. Sunday, when two gunmen killed 24-year-old Anthony Hunter on Eddy Street near Laguna Street, police reported. Hours later, at 12:40 p.m., an unknown gunman shot a 13-year-old girl who was walking on Grove Street near Laguna Street, with a group of two to three juveniles. At the time, police said they suspected it to be a retaliatory killing.

On Monday morning, while police were investigating a 2 a.m. shooting that injured a man at Haight and Fillmore streets, a car crashed into a nearby bus shelter. The car turned out to be driven by Tony McDougal, who had been shot at about 3 a.m. near the corner of Hayes and Baker streets. McDougal later died at San Francisco General Hospital.

"There’s a potential connection to gangs," Mayor Gavin Newsom said Monday. "We are working through a process to identify the prospect of retaliation and identify where that may occur in advance of anything further happening."

On Monday, police brass renewed their promise to dedicate resources to the troubled neighborhood. Police Chief Heather Fong said extra officers, as well as sheriff’s deputies and adult and youth probation personnel would respond. She added police would be leafleting the area to encourage witnesses to come forward.

Northern District Capt. Kevin Dillon said Monday that part of the root cause of the violence is that residents in the underserved community lack educational and employment opportunities. "It’s so much more than putting police officers on the corners to stop the violence," Dillon said.

Errol Hall, who grew up in the neighborhood in the 1950s and now manages facilities at the African American Art and Culture Complex at 762 Fulton St., said many of the youths who are involved in violence lack marketable skills. "We’ve got to convince these kids they need an education. I’m not talking about Ph.D.’s. They need any education [with which] they can support themselves," Hall said.

Hall said the lack of a black middle class in San Francisco has left predominately black neighborhoods such as the Western Addition and Bayview disproportionately poor and unsupported. "This town has changed — not for the better. It’s probably gotten richer, but it’s poorer for human relations," he said.

Staff writer Bonnie Eslinger contributed to this report.

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