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Close Encounters November 2020

November 1, 2020

The robbery with a gun took place in the Bayview District and, unknown to the perpetrators, the entire episode, including a clear read of the suspect vehicle’s license plate, was captured on a surveillance system located nearby. The footage was discovered by Officer Tay Liong and Officer Curran Gong after an extensive search of the nearby properties.

The officers placed a felony want on the vehicle and the very next day members of the Oakland Police Department located and pursued the vehicle ending up apprehending the car’s driver for felony evasion and outstanding warrants.

The original victim made a positive identification of the suspect involved and the case is now awaiting a hearing for the multiple felony counts.

This matter was brought to our attention thanks to Lieutenant Sean Perdomo who took the time to not only recognize the officers for their going “above and beyond” the initial incident but he made sure a copy of his commendation was sent to the Close Encounter column (c/o the SFPOA) where it could be shared with our readership.

And, since this is the Season of Sharing with Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’d like to take the time to thank all of the people who make Close Encounters possible.

Starting off with President Tony Montoya who allows us the privilege of preparing the article for The Journal in conjunction with Ray Shine, the Managing Editor who simply does an amazing job month after month.

And then there’s the Office Manager, Cyndee Bates, a tremendous help in production as well as Leah Daye of the office staff.

And we wouldn’t be thanking anyone if it wasn’t for Michael Popoff, the Advertising Coordinator, who does an outstanding job of salesmanship throughout the year.

And a very special recognition goes to Georgette Petropoulos who is “totally hands-on” each edition in charge of Layout and Production. She has always been blessed with a saintly disposition while having to “gently prod” her writers into timely submissions.

We are also indebted to Lieutenant Tracy McCray, Mike Nevin, Val Kirwan, Paul Chignell, and Kevin Martin for their associate contributions.

Thank you all!

Now, back to the game . . .

9-1-1 received the panic call from the owner of a market at 3rd and Palou in the early evening hours who told the Dispatcher that a woman who had just left his store was carrying a gun and had pointed it at him. Officer Mikael Pusung, Officer Ramy Louis, Officer Rodney Freeman, and Officer Stephen Coleman responded to investigate.

The officers arrived on scene and quickly located the suspect as described. But when she saw them she took off running. During the foot pursuit she discarded a black fanny pack that was immediately recovered by Officer Pusung. The officers soon caught up with and took custody of the fleeing suspect.

Turns out the suspect was a convicted felon with a violent history who was presently serving a prison sentence and was on early release to a half-way house. During the officer’s investigation they found a Glock 9mm pistol with an extended magazine loaded with 27 rounds and 1 round in the chamber in the fanny pack she had discarded during her attempted escape.

So much for the “early release” . . .

The suspect hiding out in the Bayview was wanted on numerous felony warrants and was known to be somewhat of an escape artist every time the officers came close to apprehending him. All that changed when Officer Eduard Ochoa, Officer Christopher Leong, Officer Andre Taylor, Officer Rodney Freeman, Officer Stephen Coleman, and Officer David Lee tracked him down and set up a security perimeter. Unfortunately, the suspect still managed to get to his vehicle and was now using it as a battering ram, slamming into police cars and, at one point, almost running over Officer Leong.

The officers eventually caught up with the suspect after a brief vehicle pursuit to the Ingleside District and he was placed under arrest after he lost a foot chase 6-0.

Not to be outdone, Officer Mark Lustenberger and Officer Jiries Naser were checking out an occupied vehicle because of its questionable licensing during their community patrol. They found out that the person in the car was on felony probation with an active search condition and was also associated with a local gang. So they decided to pursue the search condition.

Their search revealed a Glock, .40 caliber semi-automatic weapon that was fully-loaded with an extended magazine carrying extra rounds well within reach of the subject detained.

All of these episodes were the result of just really good police work. And we’re very fortunate they ended the way they did.

The woman who was armed with the fully-loaded gun could have decided to shoot it out with the officers instead of discarding the weapon. And the suspect who was ramming police cars came very close to killing Officer Mikael Pusung. And the individual that Officer Mark Lustenberger and Officer Jiries Naser detained could have also made a different, and deadlier, choice.

We were very lucky.

The suspect was wanted for the robbery and brutal beating of an elderly woman in the Ingleside District as well as numerous other felony thefts. But then he committed another robbery, this time a cell phone, in the Taraval District during which he seriously injured the victim.

Co I personnel dropped the net circumventing several blocks in order to locate the felon. The officers used the latest technology to assist their search and it paid off.

They soon located the individual responsible and placed him under arrest, clearing numerous outstanding cases.

The following officers were involved in the apprehension and deserve to be recognized: Officer Tara Allen, Officer James Sayasane, Officer John Quinlan, Officer Mark Lustenberger, Officer Luis Archilla, Officer Bary Marshall, Officer Alexander Cephus, Officer Calvin Douglas, Officer Matthew Kurose, Officer Zakariya Ali, and Officer Anthony Nguyen.

One never knows what the future holds so we wish you all the best for the New Year, stay safe, and thank you for allowing us the privilege of preparing this column for so many years recognizing some of the bravest men and women who have served our great City with dignity and respect.

— Steve Johnson