Park patrols stepped up following fatal stabbing 

Extra police patrols will be in Golden Gate Park after sunset this week following the fatal stabbing of a 25-year-old man last weekend.

The incident happened after an argument around 9:40 p.m. in a grassy area behind a statue close to where John F. Kennedy and Middle drives meet, Officer Albie Esparza said.

A 65-year-old man was later detained after various 911 calls were made by park visitors.

Esparza didn’t release any information about the suspect. He was booked into County Jail, but Esparza could not confirm the charges against him. Police were unable to verify if the suspect or the victim were transients living in the park.

After the homicide, Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said a “special daily evening patrol” would be added.

The stabbing was the second high-profile incident in the park in four days. On Thursday, three people were bitten by an unfixed male pit bull that police said lived with transients in a homeless encampment and was used for illegal breeding.

“In recent years, The City has made significant progress in reducing illegal camping and illicit activity in Golden Gate Park,” Ginsburg wrote in an e-mail. “In a multi-agency effort with SFPD and the Health Department, we do enforcement and service outreach every morning, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Sadly, this week’s incidents are stark reminders that we still need to do more.”

Locals say recent events serve as a reminder that while Golden Gate Park is a 3-mile stretch of open space, its secluded portions have a history of attracting trouble.

“You learn quickly where to go and where not to go,” said Eileen Thornton, who was with her husband teaching their two daughters how to ride bikes Monday at the same intersection where the stabbing occurred. “I grew up coming to this park. I know not to walk around here at 9:40 at night.”

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Kamala Kelkar

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