Two hours after San Francisco ended 2016 with one of the highest homicide counts in years, the city's cycle of violent deaths began anew, as New Year's Day was host to the city's first slayings of 2017.
According to San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Officer Grace Gatpandan, police were called to the intersection of 26th and Shotwell Streets at 2:13 a.m. on January 1, "on reports of a shooting victim found." When they arrived, they discovered a man identified by the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office as 21-year-old San Francisco resident Ernesto Rosales suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. Rosales was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, "where he later succumbed to his injuries," Gatpandan says.
The second fatal shooting occurred at around 11:25, Gatpandan says, at Third and Oakdale Streets. According to Gatpandan, a man identified by the ME as 35-year-old SF resident Michell Smith "sustained a gunshot wound to the face and was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries."
Gatpandan says that there's "no indication that these two homicides are related to each other and they are being investigated separately." She also says that "there is no indication of gang related ties" in either case, but "it is standard protocol that SFPD's Gang Task Force will also investigate the incident."
In both cases, Gatpandan says, "we do not have suspect descriptions to release at this time due to the sensitive nature of these cases."
Rosales and Smith's deaths are the first homicides San Francisco has seen since Thursday, when 39-year-old Mathew Fiame was shot to death on the 200 block of Valencia Street and 39-year-old Laurice Barrett was gunned down on the 200 block of Golden Gate Avenue. Those deaths sent the city's homicide count for 2016 to 59 total slayings marking the highest number of homicides in four years and an a significant increase over last year's count of 53. As of Tuesday morning, SFPD's homicide count for SF in 2017 holds steady at 2.