The cases of two dead homeless men in San Francisco are now both "pending further investigation" as the suspects believed responsible for their deaths have been let out of jail.
One case was the August 16 fatal stabbing death of 42-year-old Curtis Neal on Fern Street, an alley between Van Ness and Polk that is home to a homeless encampment. 38-year-old Tony Shervaughn Phillips was arrested in the case last week, but as the Chronicle now reports, he was released after video surveillance footage (possibly from this outfit) showed that Neal may have been the initial aggressor in a dispute between the two men, who were both camped in the alley.
According to the police and the DA's office, "Limited video footage showed that Neal, the decedent, was holding a large sharped edge stick and approached Phillips, who was seated on the ground." Per the Chronicle, in the ensuing scuffle, Neal allegedly struck Phillips on the head and face, causing injuries, and Phillips then apparently used a knife to defend himself, stabbing Neal in the chest. Neal then stumbled away and collapsed at the corner of Van Ness.
In the second case, 48-year-old victim Tung Tran was reportedly part of a homeless encampment near Fifth and Stevenson Streets in SoMa, living in a tent there with a girlfriend. According to the Chronicle report, everyone in the encampment knew each other, but an interloper arrived on August 2018 and parked a bicycle between two tents. That man, 45-year-old Antwan Monroe, was then approached by Tran, as seen on some surveillance footage. Tran was allegedly armed with a U-shaped pipe which he raised in Monroe's direction, and then appeared to direct Monroe to leave. Monroe then confronted Tran and allegedly punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground. Tran sustained a brain injury in the fall, and died at SF General two days later, as Bay City News reported.
Monroe was released from jail on August 22 or 23, and the DA's Office says police are still investigating the case.
It is possible now that neither case will be ruled a homicide.
Related: Fatal Stabbing On Van Ness