SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco business owner is expressing frustration after a frightening attack at her West Portal store late Wednesday afternoon.
The owner of Shaws Candy, a candy and ice cream store, was shoved, punched in the head and pushed to the ground in a frightening attack that was caught on video. The attack happened around 4:40 p.m.
The suspect then went inside the store where he attacked an employee as well as a customer.
Passersby then intervened, tackled the attacker and held him until police arrived. The suspect in the attack was then arrested.
Diana Zogaric, owner of the historic shop, told KTVU in an on-air interview that she went to emergency for testing and other than minor bruising, she's physically OK.
"I'm just shaken up and pretty sore," she said. Zogaric said she was familiar with the attacker and that she's seen him on the street before. "I've never seen him interact with anybody. He seems to just lay around to be honest."
She said she has politely asked people several times in the past to vacate the bench she has outside her store for customers. Apparently she asked the alleged attacker and he reacted with violence.
"This time he just jumped up and started lunging at me and attacked me. I just kept thinking he was going to stop. He hit a couple of times and he paused and then he came at me again and every time I thought, "OK, I haven't fallen or anything yet. I think I'm gonna be OK.' He stopped and then he would just come again and again and again."
She said she wondered why she didn't run, but acknowledged sometime you just don't know what to do in the moment.
Her store has been around since 1941. This isn't the first incident like this at Shaw's. "Unfortunately I've been in the news a few times now, with break-ins and people attacking," Zogaric said. "I fear for my employees mainly.
She said she was thankful it was her who was attacked and not a 16-year-old girl.
Speaking to the quality of life issues many in San Francisco are pondering, Zogaric said she's concerned. "It's a candy store. It shouldn't be dangerous to work at a candy store. It's supposed to be a really nice neighborhood, but this happened in broad daylight.
She says there are police patrols in place and that the city already provides ambassadors during the day when the attack happened. She's perplexed as to what the solution is. "More help for people before it happens? The city is very responsive. I've gotten calls from everyone; the supervisor, the captain and I know it has escalated to the mayor, but what about prevention, what could we do before, so this doesn't happen in the first place? There's a lot of after the fact conversations."
District Supervisor Myrna Melgar issued a statement on the assault, saying she witnessed the arrest of the suspect. "This type of violence and criminal activity is absolutely unacceptable," she wrote.
She continued to say that Shaw's has seen burglary attempts and vandalism over the past few years and that other merchants in West Portal are experiencing an uptick in break-ins and vandalism.
She lauded those involved in apprehending the suspect, including the staff at West Portal Day Spa for calling 911.
Melgar said Zogaric was "traumatized." But instead of discussing preventative measures, she suggested punitive measures.
"I am urging the responsive agencies to file charges to the greatest extent possible and that the individual not be released to further endanger the public," Melgar's statement read. She said the conditions of West Portal have been on the decline over the years. Melgar was elected to office in November 2020.
In that time, she says she successfully fought for surveillance technology such as security cameras as well as a public safety ambassador program.
Despite this attack happening during broad daylight, Melgar wrote the following, "We need more. I am calling on SFPD to reinstate a beat officer for the West Portal corridor and to deploy nightly drivebys."
In addition, Melgar is calling on SFMTA and the city to address encampments in and around the West Portal Muni station. She also wants to install cameras in the area to deter drug use and homeless encampments in the area of Ulloa and Claremont Boulevard.
"For far too long, we have not received the attention and resources our District deserves," Melgar's statement read. "I will continue to escalate and advocate until we see the outcomes we need."