Woman at center of Mission District standoff charged with brandishing replica gun

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- A 57-year-old woman remained in custody Monday in connection with charges that she brandished a gun at two men, prompting a standoff in the city's Mission District with police that lasted for several hours.

Samantha Helstrom has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of brandishing a replica firearm, a spokesman for the San Francisco district attorney's office said Monday. It was not immediately clear if bond has been posted for Helstrom.

Police responded to reports of a person with a gun in the 500 block of Valencia Street between 16th and 17th streets at 1:55 p.m., according to police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak.

The call came in after an exterminator and building manager went to the apartment of Samantha Helstrom to conduct pest control. Helstrom then pulled a gun and the two men fled, Andraychak said.

According to police, Helstrom barricaded herself in the apartment before stepping out and shouting "kill me" several times, confronting officers who had taken position in the hallway.

Two officers delivered four foam batons, which struck Helstrom who then returned to her apartment.

After hours of negotiations, she stepped into the hallway and surrendered to police at 9:05 p.m.

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Police said she was evaluated at a hospital and booked into the San Francisco County jail on suspicion of making criminal threats and brandishing a firearm.

All vehicular and pedestrian traffic was shut down on Valencia Street during the incident and residents in the area were ordered to shelter-in-place, police said.

The closure of the busy thoroughfare caused heavy traffic in the area and San Francisco Municipal railway buses to be rerouted.

Independent movie venue the Roxie Theater wrote on Twitter that they were in the shelter-in-place area, but police allowed them to escort patrons to the theater from the corner of 16th and Albion streets for their 7 p.m. screening of "Uncle Howard."

Police said a handgun was recovered from Helstrom's apartment and an investigation is ongoing.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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