SFPD officer on bike struck by suspect's vehicle, in critical condition

- The San Francisco police officer who was struck by a fleeing suspect's vehicle Wednesday remains in critical condition in intensive care, police said today.

Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel, 32, was struck around 12:20 p.m. on Turk Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street by a suspect thought to be armed with a weapon who fled from officers investigating a possible
firearm violation.

On Thursday, Police Chief William Scott said the officer's parents and sister had arrived at Zuckerberg General Hospital and are staying positive, which gives police hope.

"As he continues on his road to recovery, it's important and uplifting to remember that Elia is a fighter in every sense the word and this fight is not over," said Chief Scott.

The chief read a statement from the officer's wife at a news conference on Thursday. 

"He would want to say that he is like every other cop working in San Francisco. He goes to work every day to protect and serve his community. He does this with heart and passion," the wife's statement read, "This is not the end to Elia's story. Please, please send him positive energy and love."

Lewin-Tankel, who was on a bicycle patrol at the time of the collision, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and underwent surgery Wednesday afternoon.

The suspect vehicle was found in the area of Buena Vista Park a short time, prompting a search of that area before the suspect was eventually taken into custody in the 500 block of Ellis Street around 3:30 p.m.

Lewin-Tankel has been with the department since 2012 and was assigned to Tenderloin Station in March 2016. Department officials said he has been recognized numerous times for outstanding police work and received a
Purple Heart Award in 2015 for an incident in which he was injured as a direct result of actions he took to protect members of the community.

He recently started law school, volunteers for many community events in the Tenderloin and teaches jiu-jitsu to others in the department and community.

"Elia is well-liked and respected by all his colleagues and is a valued member of the department," police said in a statement.

His family members issued a statement through the department asking "everyone to send good energy and prayers for his recovery, which we know will happen, because Elia is a survivor."

The suspect, identified as Marquise Johnson, has been booked into San Francisco jail on suspicion of numerous offenses including attempted murder, evading an officer, unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle, reckless driving causing injury, and hit-and-run driving, according to jail records.

Johnson spoke to KTVU's Tara Moriarty in a jailhouse interview saying he has an ongoing lawsuit and is the "victim of police corruption."

When asked if he intentionally hit the officer, Johnson said the video of what the crime scene shows will be contrary to their statements. When asked about the officer and his family Johnson said, "My heart goes out to him and I extend condolences, apology... I don't know what to say."

He is being held without bail and has not yet made an appearance in court.

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