Mission district shootings ignite gang-free zone

by Tamara Barak Aparton and Brent Begin (SF Examiner)
September 22, 2009

sfshooting

SAN FRANCISCO — Homicides in an area of the Mission district designated by authorities as a gang-free zone went from zero during a span of almost 10 months to three in just three days this weekend.

Francisco Pena, 41, of San Francisco, and Francisco Cornejo, 26, of unknown residence, died in a gang-related shooting inside a 24th Street pizzeria late Sunday afternoon. A third man suffered life-threatening injuries, San Francisco police Sgt. Lyn Tomioka said.

“We had officers there within a minute,” said Capt. Stephen Tacchini, who commands Mission Police Station. “We couldn’t resuscitate the victims, but we were able to make a quick arrest.”

San Francisco residents Andres Siorda, 19, and a 16-year-old youth were arrested at a nearby home 10 minutes after the shooting, police said.

The owner of Papa Potrero’s Pizza, where the shootings happened, would not comment for fear of retaliation, but police already have footage of the entire incident from at least five different cameras inside and outside the business.

Sunday’s shooting came on the heels of the fatal shooting Friday, just eight blocks away, of San Francisco resident Michael “Monster” Sanchez, 21, a known gang member. Police said the two cases appear related.

Both took place in a “safety zone” protected by The City’s 2007 civil gang injunction against members of the Norteño street gang. The area is bordered by 23rd, Valencia and Cesar Chavez streets and Potrero Avenue. It also extends further east to La Raza Park and north to 21st Street at Alabama Street. The injunction includes a list of people forbidden from congregating or engaging in gang-related activity in the safety zone.

Sanchez was listed on the injunction as a member of the “21 ABL” faction of the Norteños and had been arrested three times for violating the injunction. He was released from prison earlier this month and was violating the injunction on Friday when he was killed.

Sunday’s slayings put homicides in San Francisco at 37 for the year. There were 81 at this time last year.

Warm weather and alcohol consumption tend to stir up disputes among gang members, Tacchini said. After the first shooting on Friday, the area was saturated with officers.

Police will continue to focus on the area around the Norteño safety zone to help stave off a gang war.

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2 Comments for “Mission district shootings ignite gang-free zone”

  1. wetdogsmell

    i read this was norte on norte related incident. regardless of affiliation, it’s all wasted lives.

  2. citylife415

    sad sad thing, but, every person in this crime has his story, but, this would’ve never happened back in the days, the only norte on norte violence was between nortenos from the mission against nortenos from the excelsior, punks are quick to pick up a pistol, rather then take an blank whupping.

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