Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel, 32, remains in critical condition in the ICU at SF General Friday, but SFPD Chief Bill Scott told reporters today, per the Examiner, "He’s doing better today and then he was yesterday. Elia is a fighter and the fight is not over."
Lewin-Tankel was seriously injured following a hit-and-run collision in which an SUV appeared to try to run him down while he was on bike patrol in on Turk Street Wednesday afternoon.
Police quickly arrested a suspect in the case, 50-year-old Maurquise Johnson, sometimes known as Maurice Johnson, to whom the suspect vehicle a Lexus SUV apparently belongs. He was booked into County Jail Wednesday on suspicion of attempted murder, hit-and-run driving, evading an officer with willful disregard, reckless driving, auto theft, and other charges, and he was arraigned today in court, according to CBS 5.
As the Examiner reports, Johnson was arrested last December on a drug charge and convicted of possessing a controlled substance (crack and marijuana), in February, after which he served 67 days in jail. Further, Johnson reportedly has "a history of encounters with law enforcement."
Lewin-Tankel was one of several officers on the scene at the time, reportedly investigating a "firearms case," or perhaps specifically seeking out Johnson. The details of the case have not been made clear.
According to the SFPD, in just five years on the force, Lewin-Tankel had already been injured before and had received the department's Purple Heart this was for reportedly helping to prevent "serious injury or loss of life to members of the community."
Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement saying, "During his five years with the San Francisco Police Department, Elia has proven himself to be a dedicated officer, committed to the residents of the communities he serves... Our police officers put themselves in harm’s way every time they report to duty. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their service."
Scott also read a statement from Lewin-Tankel's wife outside the hospital today, per the Ex, which said, "This is not the end of Elia’s story. Please, please send him positive energy and love."