Duboce Triangle resident Frank Tizedes (right) speaks at a neighborhood meeting November 24 following the killing of Michael Marquez. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)
Duboce Triangle residents shared their safety concerns last night (Monday, November 24) as they gathered near the spot where a robbery victim had been fatally shot just hours beforehand.
Officials say Michael Marquez, 22, of San Francisco, was walking with two other people near Henry and Noe streets around 12:30 a.m. Monday when five men got out of a car. One of the men shot Marquez and took a cellphone, backpack, and wallet.
The men, whom police have described only as black men “of unknown age,” fled. Marquez was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was dead on arrival, according to police.
Residents have been voicing frustration over safety in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood, which is popular with LGBTs, for months. Over 100 people came to the shooting scene Monday night.
Gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose District 8 includes the neighborhood, called Marquez’s death “a terrible tragedy” and said he was “very frustrated that there was another murder in our neighborhood. We want to come together for the young man who was murdered at this intersection less than 24 hours ago. … This is our community. We must not let criminals take over.”
In August, Bryan Higgins, 31, a gay man, died three days after he was assaulted on Church Street, just a few blocks away. No arrests have been announced in connection with his death. (A friend of Marquez, the man killed Monday, has indicated he was straight.)
“We must work very hard to make sure this doesn’t happen in our home any more,” Wiener said.
The supervisor recalled Higgins, who was also known by his Radical Faerie name “Feather,” and a moment of silence followed.
Residents let Wiener know they’re worried.
Audrey Thompson, 37, said, “We are neglected in this neighborhood. I really need to leave, it’s not safe.”
Frank Tizedes, 51, expressed similar concerns.
“We don’t have police coverage here,” Tizedes said. “I had someone in my house. My neighbor had his window kicked in.”
Others made comments about multiple incidents of car and house break-ins, and a total lack of police presence in the neighborhood. Many said homeless people were often to blame.
Captain Raj Vaswani, who heads the Park police station, which oversees Duboce Triangle, urged neighbors to be more vigilant about calling the police.
“Ninety percent of arrests happen when neighbors call in,” Vaswani said.
Mary Levander (left) joins nearly 100 of her neighbors in the
Duboce Triangle neighborhood for a sidewalk meeting November 24. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)
Wiener said from 2005 to 2010 there were no police academy classes, which coincided with a wave of retirements. He said he’s been pushing for increased funding for classes and hiring new officers.
Poor street lighting, another problem Wiener has been trying to address, was also discussed Monday night.
Resident Betty Doerr, who declined to share her age, urged people to join Next Door, an app which helps neighbors stay connected and informed with what’s going on in their community.
People from Castro Community on Patrol handed out whistles and urged neighbors to volunteer.
Dennis Richards, of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, said there will be a community meeting at 7 p.m., Monday, December 8 in the Gazebo Room at California Pacific Medical Center’s Davies Campus, 45 Castro Street.
As of Tuesday afternoon, no arrests had been reported in the Marquez case. Anyone with information may contact the police anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411. Type “SFPD” in the subject line and then the tip. The case number is 140 993 755.
(This story was reported by David-Elijah Nahmod and Seth Hemmelgarn.)