An unidentified man climbed the Castro Theatre sign Tuesday night, and according to eyewitnesses, threw cinder blocks, got naked, and masturbated on the roof.
An extremely unusual, initially whimsical, but eventually disturbing scene in the Castro Tuesday night, as the entire 400 block of Castro Street was police-lined off. At about 5:30 p.m., according to eyewitnesses, a man in a leather jacket somehow managed to climb the Castro Theatre marquee, doing extensive damage to the sign’s neon bulbs in the process. It only got stranger from there, as eyewitnesses tell SFist the man then threw cinder blocks from the roof of the building onto Castro Street, and engaged police in an hour-and-a-half standoff before surrendering.
“He was masturbating before that,” one eyewitness told us, as several bystanders confirmed that he got naked shortly after climbing to the theater's roof.
The sheer strangeness started at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, when the unnamed man somehow scaled to the top of the Castro Theatre marquee, then climbed the letters to reach the roof.
The above video provided to SFist by a witness lasts only one second, but captures the striking oddness of a person standing on the Castro Theatre roof.
Another video details the damage he did to the marquee and its precious neon fixtures. Several individuals on the spot told SFist he then got naked and masturbated on the roof.
But more alarmingly, they also had corroborating accounts of him tossing cinder blocks and other debris from the roof of the theater, onto Castro Street.
SFPD had Castro Street lined off from 17th to 18th Streets by 5:45 p.m., according to the adjacent Twin Peaks bar staff. Shortly after that, the fellow hopped from roof to roof, eventually perching on a tree branch behind a 17th Street residential apartment. He is now perched higher than a three-story flat. Fire and ambulance personnel were on the scene by then, assessing, “How do we get this individual from the tree and into custody?”
Police and fire personnel managed to commandeer a residential gate entrance next to Nice Cuts stylists by 6:45 p.m. They brought in a ladder, which was not high enough to reach where the suspect was perched.
But perhaps reassessing his predicament, the individual did scale down the tree to reach the ladder, and surrendered himself to authorities at 7:05 p.m.
People will make their “Meth is a hell of a drug” and “Thanks Chesa” jokes (go at it, commenters!), and we too have been glib in sections of this post. But watching this unfold had a serious “I might be about to watch someone die” vibe to it. We are not aware that anyone was hurt, and the suspect immediately received proper ambulance and medical care once he descended. The worst of harm was to the Castro Theatre neon marquee, which is obviously quite difficult to repair. But that's a cause many of us would happily contribute to were a repair fund to be posted.
Top image: Anonymous bystander, other images Joe Kukura, SFist