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Close Encounters July 2021

July 1, 2021

The muni driver was stopped at the end of his route at Bayshore Boulevard and Visitation Avenue when an individual approached and brandished a semi-automatic pistol and pointed it directly at the driver while speaking incoherently.

The driver showed the intruder his empty hands and was lucky enough to convince the suspect that he wasn’t armed and, by doing so, was just barely able to escape from any harm.

Sergeant Mendiola of Ingleside Station handled the investigation and issued a BOLO for the suspect who had brandished a weapon.

Approximately 3 weeks later, Public Service Aide (PSA) Nadia Ortiz recognized the suspect who was wanted for the brandishing standing in the lobby of Ingleside Station at which time she immediately notified the officers nearby.

The suspect was detained by Officer Miller and Officer Michael Cattaneo. This time he was in possession of a concealed dagger and 2 active arrest warrants for outstanding weapon violations for which he was placed under arrest.

(And, yes – we can probably file this one under the “What were you thinking” Close Encounter Category . . .)


Sergeant Jarrod Yee authored a Captain’s Commendation for PSA Nadia Ortiz stating, “Police Service Aides are valuable members of the Department who are often the first point of contact for citizens arriving at the station for assistance. With the increasing danger facing uniformed members of law enforcement agencies PSA Ortiz’s quick thinking likely averted any further criminal activity from the armed suspect. Her keen observation skills, memory of the BOLO, and decision-making made this investigation and the safe apprehension of the suspect possible.” Excellent work!!

Sergeant Sergio Lopez has been around long enough to know that even when you submit a request for an award for great police work performed by members of your station, it’s still going to take months, maybe even years, before that recognition becomes a reality.

Nevertheless, when you have a group of police officers who can wrap up a murder case in just under 4 hours, you need to recognize their efforts and submit a request for a Meritorious Commendation no matter how long it might take

The incident worth noting took place on May, 14, 2021 at the corner of Vienna Street and Persia Avenue at sunset. 2 men were seen arguing when 1 of them pulled out a gun and shot the other in the face at close range.

Numerous officers responded to the scene and immediately conducted a far-ranging investigation using the latest technology to assist them in their search for the suspect. They obtained a search warrant with the assistance of Sergeant Mark Hutchings, Homicide Detail and managed to arrest the suspect as well as recovering 2 guns.

Sergeant Lopez prepared the memo for recognition stating the following: I respectfully request that Officer Danny Barajas, Officer Jiries Naser, Officer Kevin Burke, Officer Kevin Downs, Officer Roderick Sugitan, Officer Joel Hornstein, Officer Nicholas Wise, Officer Elenoardo Zandanel, Officer Nicholas Miller, Officer Brittney Taylor, Officer Sophia Villalobos, Officer Taylor, Officer Samuel Fyles, Officer Raymond Estrada, and Officer Zeyad Joseph be considered for a Meritorious Concuct Award for their actions in connection with this investigation and arrest.

Sergeant Lopez also appended the reason why the actions of these officer should be recognized:

“If these members of the San Francisco Police Department had failed in any of their actions, a violent and dangerous individual would be loose on our streets, possibly murdering another person.”

One final thought — Let’s not leave out Sergeant Lopez who directed an extremely intensive investigation working many hours longer than his watch schedule required just to make sure the officers would have someone available to oversee the processing of evidence and documenting the scope of their involvement.

The caller to 9-1-1 was very upset over the fact that someone had broken into his parked van in The City and was currently in the process of rummaging through it as he returned from shopping. Sounded routine enough until the caller advised Dispatch that the suspect had a machete in his possession. Officer Michael Gaitan-Miller, Officer Dolores Castaneda, Officer Nadia Mohammed, Officer Alexander Fannin, Officer Steven Filippi, Officer Raymond Biagini, Officer Cory Faubel, Officer Andrew Hidalgo, Officer Ramy Louis, Officer Brian Barron, and Officer Mikael Pusung, all under the direction of Sergeant Joaquin Borromeo. The suspect refused to comply with the request of the officers to exit the van.

The officers did an outstanding job using both time and distance to slow everything down and finally convinced the suspect to surrender which, after a 2-hour dialogue, he finally did voluntarily then safely taken into custody.

Officer Andrew Hidalgo and Officer Cory Faubel were on patrol in the Bayview when their attention was drawn to a tan Jeep Grand Cherokee that was driving southbound in the northbound lanes of Ingalls Street. The Jeep failed to stop for the posted stop sign at Ingalls and LaSalle while an MDT query determined that the vehicle was stolen during an armed carjacking. The officers initiated a traffic stop but the vehicle took off. The vehicle eventually lost control and came to rest at Phelps and Newcomb Avenue. Numerous units responded as back-up as the suspect tried to escape but he was shortly taken into custody. The carjacking took place in Antioch so the follow-up investigation was handled by officers from the East Bay.

Officer Eric Chiang is right.

Eric wrote an article for the The Journal last month expressing just how meaningful it was to attend memorial services for 2 fallen officers from other police jurisdictions.

It is meaningful. Most importantly it’s meaningful to the family of the lost officers to see uniforms from all over California attend a very personal moment in time when they say their final farewells. It doesn’t make it any easier but it’s a statement of support when needed most.

The officers who attend have put their lives on the line over the course of their service many times because that’s what they’re sworn to do, “to protect and serve”. And they’ve been fortunate because each and every one of them have taken chances that ordinary people don’t have to.

Officer Chiang noted that one officer, Officer Jimmy Inn, left behind a wife (who is also a Stockton Police Officer), a 7-month old infant, and 2 step children. The other officer honored, Detective Luca Benedetti, is survived by his wife and 2 children ages 6 and 2.

2 officers who made the ultimate sacrifice helping others in their time of need.

So why did we think it was important to bring this matter before the membership? Because we think that Officer Chiang laid it out perfectly in the summation of his article as to what needs to be done:

“Although the sadness of these funerals is immense, I believe the nobility of our profession demands we pay respects to all fallen officers. As one of the oldest police departments in the nation and the second largest department in the state, it’s shameful we do not send more officers to pay tribute and honor these heroes. I have seen much smaller departments send a contingent of officers to these services. And, in light of our current political atmosphere of anti-police sentiment, now, more than ever, we need to show our support for our fallen brothers and sisters.

Eric ended his request with the comment, “I hope our leadership is listening.”

The “Leadership” of this Department might keep in mind that Honoring those Officers who have given their life in service is and always will be a privilege with no boundaries attached.