SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco’s police chief apologized on Thursday for what he said was an unintentional shooting of a burglary suspect by an officer.
This happened last Friday after several calls came through of a series of car break-ins across the city.
It’s been called an epidemic here in San Francisco and there’s even a term coined for car burglaries – sidewalk glitter because of all the broken glass left behind.
When SFPD got several calls about an ongoing smash and grab spree, they jumped into action but it all ended with a gun going off and the officer and police chief both said it was unintentional.
The same car witnesses described as a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse cross was seen at each crime scene.
First at Golden Gate Park, then the Presidio where the driver fled into oncoming traffic, then the Central District, to the Embarcadero, and finally in the South of Market neighborhood.
Their officers in plain clothes, which means not wearing uniforms, are seen on surveillance video closing in on the suspects who were rummaging through more suitcases.
As another officer tried to cuff one of the suspects identified as 23-year-old Xavier Pittman Jr., officer Zachary McAuliffe’s gun went off shooting Pittman in the wrist.
Pittman is said to not have had a weapon on him and he is now recovering.
Officer McAuliffe has apologized for the shooting along with police chief Bill Scott who says police work is tough and going after car burglars is important but this shooting shouldn’t have happened.
A caller into tonight’s town hall meeting with the chief claimed to be Pittman’s mother and alleges that her son is now unable to work for the rest of his life because of his injury.
“We have not adjudicated this case yet and the reason why I apologized to you, your family, and your son is because at this point in the investigation we believe it shouldn’t have happened,” Chief Bill Scott said.
The district attorney will lead the investigation if the deadly force was legal, independent of SFPD.
This will determine whether the officer will face criminal charges.
There is nobody camera video from this shooting because Chief Scott explained plainclothes officers are exempt from wearing them.
Meantime, he put a pause on all operations by plainclothes officers while their protocols are reviewed again.