The owner of a popular truffle shop in North Beach says he was being strangled by an allegedly homeless man outside his store on Monday, and the attacker only relented when the owner's son came out with a baseball bat.
Jean-Marc Gorce — who has been running his small Columbus Avenue shop XOX Truffles, specializing in handmade chocolate truffles, since 1998 — posted about the incident to Facebook on Monday, and KPIX then followed up with him and his 13-year-old son Sébastien.
"I thought I was going to die," Gorce writes. "Very scary. But the police came and arrested [the suspect] on two counts of felony [assault]. Thank you, SFPD."
The suspect was allegedly making a scene in the shop and Gorce asked him to leave. The man then got into an altercation with Gorce outside on the sidewalk and allegedly began strangling him. Sébastien says he came up to the shop, went to the back where the baseball bat was kept, and then came out to his dad's defense. He says that bystanders and customers sitting outside urged him to put the bat down, but he went with his own instinct, and the suspect backed down.
Per KPIX, the suspect, 51-year-old Paul Anghilante of San Francisco, was actually charged with three counts: assault with a deadly weapon, felonious threats and false imprisonment.
In his Facebook note, Gorce suggests that Anghilante is homeless, and suggests that he was also assaulted, possibly by a different person, at the store last week.
VIDEO: XOX Truffles owner Jean Marc Gorce shows how he was in a chokehold, his 13-year old son grabbed a bat from the back to ward off the attacker. Bystanders urged the kid not to use the bat, but he held it up and chased the man off. pic.twitter.com/XMBDSeIg8F— Joe Vazquez (@joenewsman) August 20, 2019
The case follows just a week after the high-profile incident caught on surveillance video in which a 25-year-old man, Austin James Vincent, is believed to have assaulted a 26-year-old woman on her way back into her SoMa condo building. Vincent was released into residential treatment last week in a controversial decision by a local judge, only to be remanded into police custody on new charges on Monday in connection with a February incident involving a knife and threats.
XOX Truffles, having survived 21 years in North Beach, enjoys a 4.5-star rating on Yelp and is "internationally known" via its tourist traffic, according to KPIX. As Gorce explained to the Chronicle in the last decade, he turned to truffle-making after spending his 20s as a chef in high-stress kitchens, and suffering a heart attack at the age of 30. For several years starting in 2015, XOX also had a small shop at SFO.