The longtime cashier at the Outer Richmond corner store Richmond Market has reportedly died after an alleged baseball bat attack at the hands of a shoplifter who made off with a bottle of water and two beers, and is still at large.
Update (August 29, 5:20 p.m.): KTVU's Henry Lee is reporting that Yowhannes “John” Tewelde has died from the injuriues he suffered in this attack.
Original story (August 29, 10:53 a.m.): Given the lack of convenience store options in the Outer Richmond, the Richmond Market at Balboa Street and 41st Avenue has an outsized importance in the neighborhood. And its longtime clerk, 60-year-old Yowhannes “John” Tewelde and the store’s bodega cat Nancy, hold a special place in the Outer Richmond’s heart. So the neighborhood has been in shock for the last few days, because as KPIX reports, Tewelde is in a coma after an alleged baseball bat beating by a shoplifter.
The incident occurred at about 9:30 p.m. last Thursday night, according to the shop’s owner’s account to KTVU. The alleged shoplifter came into the store and stole a bottle of water. That same individual returned ten minutes later and stole two beers, but Tewelde, with a baseball bat in tow, attempted to block the individual from leaving the store. The individual knocked Tewelde to the ground, injuring his head, and allegedly struck him with the bat before fleeing.
KPIX reports that police found Tewelde unconscious.
His daughter Meron Tewelde described him to KPIX as a “Loyal, trustworthy person, he treated that store like it was his. It makes no sense why he would try to stop the guy, if that was me, I would have let him steal whatever he wanted to steal, but my dad has such honor."
Yowhannes Tewelde had reportedly just received his U.S. citizenship eight months ago, and had undergone heart surgery in March. And in a tragically ironic twist, KTVU adds his wife works as a nurse’s assistant at Zuckerberg General Hospital, where he is now in a coma.
A GoFundMe for Yowhannes “John” Tewelde has raised more than $26,000 in four days, but his medical bills will likely be much steeper. According to a Sunday update on that page, “John is still in the ICU in critical condition but the family wanted to express their gratitude to the community. John's wife only wishes that John could wake up and see for himself how much he is loved.”
If you have any information on this incident, you’re asked to call the SFPD tip line at 415-575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with “SFPD.” Tipsters can remain anonymous.
Image: Ferenc F. via Yelp