Man shot and killed after struggle with SFPD ID'd

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San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said a man in his 20s was fatally shot by a police sergeant in the city's Mid-Market neighborhood Thursday afternoon when he allegedly took another sergeant's firearm.

The man was identified Friday as 27-year-old Herbert Benitez. 

The shooting occurred at 12:06 p.m. near Eighth and Market streets, about a block from United Nations Plaza.

Suhr said the incident occurred after two senior police sergeants form the Tenderloin Station were hailed by a worker at a construction site on Eighth Street who reported a man throwing glass bottles onto the street.

The construction worker told police he had approached the man and asked him to stop, out of concern that the broken glass would damage the tires on construction vehicles. The man allegedly became hostile toward the worker, however, and challenged him to call police.

One of the sergeants approached the man and attempted to take him into custody, but as he tried to handcuff the man a violent struggle ensued, according to police.

Police said the sergeant on the ground called out "He's getting my gun," and then saw his own gun pointing at him and yelled "He's got my gun. Shoot him."

His partner then fired two shots, striking the suspect. The suspect fell to the sidewalk, along with the gun he allegedly took from the officer on the ground, according to Suhr.

Police said the officers called for an ambulance and began first aid before paramedics arrived, but the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

Suhr said the sergeants were transported to a hospital and are both in stable condition. One suffered injuries to his face and knee, while the other sergeant suffered only facial injuries.

Coleogne Johnson, 47, of Pinole, said he was outside the Orpheum Theatre eating his lunch when he heard two pops and then saw a swarm of officers arrive at the intersection of Eighth and Market streets.

A van from the San Francisco medical examiner's office responded to the intersection at about 1 p.m. The medical examiner's office has not yet released the name of the man.

Market Street was shut down between Seventh and Ninth streets following the shooting, but has since reopened.

Eighth Street between Mission and Market streets remained closed as of 2:25 p.m. but all other streets in the area were reopening.

San Francisco Municipal Railway bus and streetcar routes that used Market Street were rerouted around the scene, but have since resumed normal service. Muni officials said riders should expect residual delays.

Police have tentatively scheduled a Town Hall Meeting for Monday.

The shooting will be investigated by police internal affairs and homicide investigators, as well as the Medical Examiner's Office, the District Attorney's Office and the Office of Citizens' Complaints, police said.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call police at (415) 553-1145, or the Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 to Text-a-Tip to TIP411 and start the message with SFPD.

 

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