Gang Ambush Raises Fear, Tension In City As Rival Gang Promises Revenge
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Police said Tuesday they had leads to the youths who killed two people in a weekend drive-by shooting, and community leaders were waiting for the bloody revenge they fear is coming over the attack.
Mayor Art Agnos, responding to the city’s worst gang-related murders in 14 years, hinted he may ask the National Guard to help free police for temporarily increased patrols in the city’s drug-plagued southeast corner.
The weekend shooting that left two dead and nine injured spurred threats of revenge from a rival gang, including an ominous graffiti warning that promised ″10 for one″ retaliation.
″It’s really like a war zone here,″ said the Rev. Jim Goode of St. Paul of the Shipwreck, a church inside the embattled Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. ″That’s the climate over here right now.″
Goode’s church is about a mile from the corner where several men armed with assault rifles and shotguns opened fire early Saturday when they drove past a large crowd.
The gunmen yelled ″Sunnydale″ before firing up to 60 shots into the crowd and two parked cars loaded with young people.
Police said none of those killed or injured are known to have connections to the rival black teen-age gangs in Bayview-Hunters Point and the Sunnydale project in nearby Visitacion Valley.
The Sunnydale youths, who call themselves the Swampy Desert Gang, and the Bayview-Hunters Point gang have been linked to more than 30 shootings in the past year.
Police said they had leads, but would not discuss any details in connection with the attack, the worst gang incident since the 1975 Golden Dragon Massacre in Chinatown that left five dead and 11 injured.
Police said the attack may have been Swampy Desert’s retaliation for the slaying of Edric Carr, 19, who was killed by a sniper on Bayview-Hunters Point turf March 16.
Gang tensions intensified when Carr’s funeral was held in Hunters Point. During the service, rival gang members angrily taunted one another while police kept the two groups apart.
City Supervisor Doris Ward said Tuesday that the weekend shooting was more than just revenge by one gang against a rival. She said it appeared one gang was intent on attacks on anyone from their rival’s neighborhood with no regard to gang affiliation.
″And that is different. That’s scary. That’s horrendous, because we have never had that kind of behavior on that scale,″ said Ward, who’s involved in a task force led by Goode which seeks to ease local tensions.
Ward believes crack cocaine is at the root of all the violence and gang battles plaguing southeast San Francisco and other urban areas.
″It’s a vicious, vicious circle and one causes the other and it’s a whole domino effect,″ said Ward, who also blasted the availability of assault rifles.
Goode’s task force held a community meeting Monday night that attracted 125 parents, community leaders and youths to discuss gang problems and possible solutions.
One of the ideas presented, Goode said, was formation of a community youth and family discussion group to resolve the communication gap he sees between parents and their children.
″I think that that’s one of the things that we are trying to do here - we really have to bring the families of these kids together,″ said Goode. ″Something has to be done. We have to address the needs of this community.″