Castro Crime & Safety: Assault With Golf Club, Shooting On Hancock, Safety Tips

Crime reports in the neighborhood have increased since the election and our last roundup, and include a series of incidents concentrated near Dolores Park. With safety on everyone's mind, we've also added some safety tips from Castro Community On Patrol to our regularly scheduled roundup of crime incident, which are in chronological order and come via the SFPD, unless otherwise noted.

Dolores Attempted Robbery Leads To Arrest

The first of four incidents reported near the Dolores Park area on November 10th was an attempted robbery at 2:10am near Dolores and 20th. A 44-year-old man was approached by a younger man, 21, and the two got into a verbal argument. The argument turned physical when the younger man demanded the victim's wallet and tackled him. A witness intervened and the SFPD arrested the suspect.

Dolores Park Assault & Robbery

A couple hours later, at 12:08pm, a young man, 17, was in Dolores Park when three juvenile suspects approached him. One suspect punched him in the jaw, and the others stole his backpack. No arrests were made and the victim was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Suspected Explosive Device Deemed Safe

Rounding out the November 10th Dolores-area incidents was an afternoon report that came in at 4:35pm near Church and 20th. A construction worker reached out to the SFPD to notify police of live ammunition found in a home where a live grenade had previously been found in and disposed of. Officers inspected the scene and found a possible explosive device. Explosive Ordnance Disposal arrived and determined that the device was safe and not an explosive.

Dolores Park Robbery with Gun

Crime news in the Dolores Park area continued on November 12th, when a 37-year-old woman was taking photos near Dolores and 18th at 9:24pm. Two suspects, a female and male, aged 20-25, approached the victim and pointed a handgun at her, demanding her camera. She complied and both suspects fled on foot. No arrests were made.

Alleged Gay Bashing Rattles The Neighborhood

On November 13th, many of us saw reports on social media of an alleged gay bashing and "skinhead" activity that took place in the Castro. Upon further investigation with tipsters and the SFPD, Hoodline reported on the details we could uncover. It appears that two separate incidents occurred.

The first took place in Oakland at the 12th Street BART Station, where a man was attacked by at least one person when exiting the station. Bystanders allegedly jumped in to try to stop the attack. Details as to why the victim was attacked remain unclear, but Facebook posts by reported friends of the victim have labeled the attack a gay bashing. Posts have also claimed that the victim had to have brain surgery, but we have yet to confirm those claims. The SFPD did confirm that the victim was in the hospital.

The second incident that occurred in the Castro involved an individual wearing camouflage pants and a ski mask who was detained on suspicion of battery near 400 Castro St. When the SFPD spoke to witnesses, they determined that there were no victims, that the suspect did not strike anyone, and that the man had not made any homophobic threats or taunts to anyone. Instead, the suspect had been aggressively pushing his way through a crowd. The suspect was released without being charged.

Church & 20th Hot Prowl

Dolores area incidents continued on November 15th, beginning with a hot prowl near Church and 20th at 1:30am. Police received a call of a possible break-in inside an apartment complex. When the SFPD arrived, they heard a woman scream from an apartment. Upon entering, they found a 37-year-old man trying to escape through a kitchen window and arrested him. The victim, a 37-year-old woman, didn't suffer any injury or loss of property.

Church Street Shooting

Later in the evening, at 7:57pm, a shooting occurred on Hancock near Church. A Nextdoor user reported the incident, saying "There's been sirens and Hancock has been blocked off for almost an hour. They're sending people to go around the block." An anonymous witness also told us, "I saw a man running down the street with a gun. Prior to that I heard 7 loud pops. [The victim] was yelling' "my leg, my fucking leg" as he writhed on the corner sidewalk. And his buddy (the one running with a gun) grabbed him and dragged him down Hancock." The tipster said that "a bunch of cars on the street had bullets in them, a couple of which blocked the bullet from going through my front window."

The victim, a 20-year-old male, was transported to the hospital with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, according to police. No suspect has been identified or arrested.

Assault With Golf Club

On November 17th, a man, 24, was walking with his boyfriend on Market near Church when he was assaulted in an apparent unprovoked attack. The suspect, a man in his early 20s, first flicked a cigarette at the victim. The two then got into a physical altercation and the suspect hit the victim multiple times in the head and body with a golf club. Both fell to the ground and the suspect then bit the victim on the inner thigh before fleeing on foot. The victim refused medical transport; no arrest was made.

We reached out to the SFPD for additional information, and they confirmed that the incident was unprovoked, noting that the suspect may have mental health issues.

Teenage Girl Stabbed on 18th

Crime in the Dolores Park area continued on November 18th, near Dolores and 18th. Nextdoor user Laura H. posted, "Street blocked off at 18th between Church and Dolores. I asked the police what happened and they said a student was stabbed. No details on if the person stabbed would be ok. Many students were being arrested and many more giving their account of the incident to police. So disheartening to have two major acts of violence within one block of each other in less than a week. Part of me can't help but wonder if it's somehow related to the general unease since the election. Stay safe out there, neighbors."

The SFPD report placed the time of the incident at 5:45pm. The victim, a 16-year-old girl, was stabbed by an unknown suspect. She was transported to the hospital with a non-life-threatening laceration to her hand. The report didn't confirm any student arrests.

Update: a tipster shares this account from the principal of Mission High School, which explains the incident in more detail:

At around 5:00 pm, as students were leaving the school from various team practices and other after school activities, a couple of our students, heading to the bus stop on the corner of 18 St. and Dolores, were chased by an adult who we believe was hanging out on the corner of the park with a small group of homeless individuals.  There does not appear to be a reason why the students were chased.  Unfortunately another group of adult men got involved and a fight broke out across the street below the tennis courts.  As students and staff worked to break this up and bring students back across the street one of our students was cut across the hand.  The student was bleeding and a teacher was able to wrap the hand up and get the student to safety back at school.  The police and ambulance then arrived and several adults were detained.

Duboce Triangle Hate Crime Alleged

A Nextdoor user posted about an unconfirmed November 18th incident. "A friend of mine was attacked a Friday night near Duboce Park in an apparent hate crime." The post contained a screen grab of a social media post describing the event, which began with the victim allegedly being followed and yelled at by another man. The post stated that the suspect yelled homophobic slurs at the victim before the two had a physical fight and the victim overpowered the suspect. According to the screen grab, the police then arrived, and, with the help of a neighbor who witnessed the incident, arrested the suspect.

We reached out to the SFPD, who could not confirm any direct report of the incident described via Nextdoor or social media. They found two possibly similar incidents that happened in the area, but told Hoodline that neither involved any elements of a hate crime.

Twin Peaks Robbery With Gun

On November 20th, a robbery occurred near Christmas Tree Point Road at Twin Peaks. A man, 47, parked his vehicle and took a walk at 1:30am. When he returned to his vehicle, two suspects parked next to his car. One suspect got out of their vehicle, pressed an object into the victim's back, and demanded money. As the victim complied, the second suspect emerged, smashing the victim's vehicle and grabbing his bag. The suspects drove away with the victim's money, bag, and laptop. No arrests were made.

Retail Robbery with Crowbar

At 4:11am on the morning of Nov. 20th, a robbery occurred in a store near Castro and 17th. A man in his 30s walked into the store and was recognized by employees as a shoplifter. They asked him to leave and he stole a two-way radio before exiting. One employee chased him outside, where the suspect pulled out a crowbar and fled on foot. No arrest was made.

Awareness Tips From Castro Community On Patrol

"For at least the next few months, there is a heightened chance that people will feel emboldened to attack LGBT and other minority communities verbally and possibly physically," Castro Community On Patrol Chief of Patrol Greg Carey shared. "We must not become paranoid, but should have a heightened awareness about our personal safety and the safety of the community."

Carey's safety guidelines include common sense practices like avoiding walking home alone at night, carrying a safety whistle, reporting every crime, collecting license plate numbers and accurate descriptions of suspects, and learning basic self-defense skills. He also shared the following tips:

  • Enter these 2 numbers in your phone’s address book and then set them to “Favorites”: 911 for “crime in progress” and 415-553-0123 for non-emergencies [NOTE: Add 911 because it will be much faster to hit the entry than trying to dial 911 manually.]
  • If you hear someone blowing a whistle, investigate from a safe distance and call 911 if appropriate. [The community had trained itself to do this as a reflex in the 1970s but has become affected by the “I don’t want to get involved” syndrome in the meantime]
  • Stay informed about threats or attacks via reliable media sources (Hoodline, Bay Area Reporter, Bay Times, network TV, etc.) and avoid the click-bait, conspiracy theory, and 3rd-hand “reports” as many of these are highly embellished or at times made up and tend to frighten more than inform.

Did we miss any recent crimes around the neighborhood? If you've got info on a crime or neighborhood safety issue to share, send us a tip here or add a comment below. Or text Hoodline if you see an incident, and we’ll see what we can find out: (415) 200-3233.

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Castro crime golf club assault safety tips