The person known in the Castro as Anastasia. Photo: Courtesy Downtown Donna
The SF Eagle bar in San Francisco’s South of Market district is hosting a beer bust for Anastasia, 50, the transgender homeless person who died December 31 outside the Peet’s Coffee shop in the Castro neighborhood.
City records shared this week with the Bay Area Reporter show several calls were made to emergency responders to help her just before she died.
The Eagle benefit is from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, February 7 at the bar, which is located at 398 12th Street.
“No family has come forward to claim her,” a flier for the event says. “She was so very loved by those in the neighborhood. Let’s all make sure that she will be laid to rest with dignity.”
In another announcement, organizers said a non-denominational memorial will be held at Sullivan’s Funeral Home, 2254 Market Street, but the date hasn’t been determined.
All proceeds from the Eagle “will pay for the various costs involved,” organizers said. “Anything raised over and above this amount will be used for a plaque in Anastasia’s honor.” The rest will be donated to the Homeless Youth Alliance.
Drinks, alcoholic and otherwise, are $15 with food. Food only is $6.
“If you’d like to just come in and donate to the cause for Anastasia’ s memorial any donation will be collected as well, and is greatly appreciated,” organizers said.
For information on other ways to contribute, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“All humans deserve the dignity of love in their final hours and to not die alone,” the announcement said. San Francisco “is a compassionate city and we hope that with all the changes our beloved city is undergoing, that we not forget our most vulnerable inhabitants. Blessed Be.”
Anastasia who was well known in the Castro neighborhood, had refused numerous offers of shelter and other services, according to people who knew her, even though many people said she’d appeared to be in declining health before she died at the coffee shop, which is at 2257 Market Street.
The city was experiencing a severe cold snap at the time Anastasia was found. The medical examiner’s office isn’t likely to publicly release the cause and manner of her death for several months. Officials have not indicated there were any signs of foul play.
Many who knew Anastasia use feminine pronouns when referring to her and have indicated she was likely transgender, although it’s not clear if that’s how she self-identified.
Records show final hours
City computer-aided dispatch records recently provided to the B.A.R. in response to a public records request appear to confirm a report on the Hoodline news site that several calls had been made to get help for Anastasia the morning she was found dead.
The first 911 call, at 5:46 a.m., was related to a man on the bench in front of Peet’s who appeared to be “completely awake” and alert.
“He was heard talking,” and “he is sitting now,” but “it’s not known if he is moving at all,” the records say.
The documents indicate that the fire department arrived at the scene at 6:03, and the report was closed at 6:24. As with much of the information provided to the B.A.R., it isn’t immediately apparent what exactly happened when responders got to Peet’s.
At 6:28, the records show, someone called police with what’s described as a “homeless complaint.”
The report involved a 45-year-old white male adult in front of Peet’s who was covered in a gray blanket.
The subject was “shivering outside” and the caller was “concerned” and wanted police “to come out and see if they can get him to HOT team,” the records say, referring to the city’s Homeless Outreach Team.
Police were at the scene at 6:37, and at 6:48, the subject was referred to a shelter and the report was closed. The records don’t give any clear indication of what the subject’s response was to any of the responders.
The next call to police came at 7:07. In the incident, which was classified as “trespasser,” the person, who was in their 50s, was reported laying on the bench under a dark blanket. Police were at the location at 7:13, and the incident was closed at 7:23.
Another 911 call came at 10:04. The caller indicated that the subject was gasping for breath, and that a defibrillator wasn’t available.
At the same time, the records say, the subject had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, and was likely dead.
The call was given the highest priority, and lights and sirens were used in responding to the scene, according to Francis Zamora, a spokesman for the Department of Emergency Management Services, who helped the Bay Area Reporter decipher the codes and acronyms displayed in the documents.
Police were on the scene at 10:08.
“Police must secure the scene when there is a death,” Zamora said in an email.
It’s not immediately clear from the records when Anastasia was declared dead, but Mindy Talmadge, a spokeswoman for the fire department, has said in an email in January, “An engine, ambulance, and rescue captain were dispatched at 10:01 to the location. … The reporting party said that it looked as though a homeless person had passed out.”
Talmadge added, “Upon arrival it was determined that the individual was deceased. There was no indication that there was any trauma involved.”
The computer-aided dispatch files indicate a “hose down” was requested at 10:58 since the “person was covered in lice and scabies.”
The report was closed at 12:11 p.m.
The B.A.R. could not confirm that each record was related to Anastasia, since the records were redacted to protect personal information. However, the details appear to match Anastasia’s physical description and her location that morning.
Several people have described seeing Anastasia in the hours just before she died, beginning the night of Tuesday, December 30.
In a January interview, Barry Lawlor, 51, one of the last people to see Anastasia alive, said he put a blanket that he’d brought over her at about 8:30 p.m. that night as she lay on the bench in front of Peet’s.
“She was freezing,” said Lawlor, who had frequently seen her around the neighborhood. “She was totally cold, and a little out of it.”
However, he said, when he asked her if she was warm enough, she said, “Yes.” He added, “She seemed like she could mange. … She didn’t seem like she was on death’s doorstep.”
Bevan Dufty, who serves as director of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE) for Mayor Ed Lee, has been working to re-launch the city’s homeless death review committee, which would include officials from the medical examiner’s office, the health department, and other agencies
One of the aims of the panel would be to examine the deaths of people like Anastasia, to see what contacts they’d had with service providers, and what may have been done to prevent the loss.
“I believe her tragic death can be a rallying point to make sure we don’t leave people behind,” Dufty, who recalled seeing Anastasia around the neighborhood, said in January.
Sam Dodge, HOPE’s deputy director, said in an email Tuesday, February 3 that the Dr. Barry Zevin, the Homeless Outreach Team’s medical director, is working on a memorandum of understanding with the agencies involved, “but the whole process is agreed to and should start soon.”