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Close Encounters February 2022

February 1, 2022

Thanks to the Chief’s Office Team we now have a collection of Captain Commendations to choose from that highlight the outstanding work the officers of San Francisco perform on a daily basis without asking for anything more than a ‘thank you.’

We start off with Officer Jack Nyce and Officer Dustin Daza who are assigned to Park Station and were sent to check out an individual loitering on school property who had nearby school officials concerned.

The officers responded immediately locating the subject in question. They initiated a conversation with him at one point asking him to relinquish his backpack for the time being. He complied with their request by throwing it at Officer Nyce to, apparently, distract him at which time a revolver fell out of the suspect’s jacket pocket onto a staircase planter box.

There was now a rush for control of the weapon until Officer Nyce drew his department-issued firearm and ordered the suspect to back off at which time he was placed in custody. It was later learned that this individual was on probation at the time of the incident for felony assault and was prohibited from possessing any firearm.

And, scariest of all, the gun he had was loaded.

Note: Some of the incidents we captured in this column have occurred in the past but are definitely worthy of recognition even now because of the bravery and courage displayed by those officers involved.

It’s only 2 in the afternoon when Officer Andrew Henry and Officer Hans Gumpfer respond to a hot prowl burglary with a suspect climbing through a second-story window of an apartment building on the 1500 block of Fell Street. Officer Sean Dennis, Officer Jermaine Washington, Officer Jeremiah Swangler and Officer Ryan McArthur also responded to assist. The officers found out that owners of the house, who were still inside, contacted Dispatch and said they could hear footsteps on the floor above them but that no one should be inside because the owners were away. The officers put together a quick recovery team to move in and get the 2 remaining tenants out while the suspect was still moving around. Their plan worked and a suspect was located hiding on the 2ndfloor just waiting to be found.

Meanwhile, there was another report of a hot prowl burglary just 7 days later this time on the 900 block of Clayton. The following officers responded immediately. Officer Sean O’Rourke, Officer Matthew Gippner, Officer Colleen Fitzpatrick, Nikolai Ballard, Officer Alexander Ortega, Officer Benjamin Chen, Officer Alexander Austria, and Officer Jordan Cagonot.

The officers surrounded the building leaving the majority of those officers who responded at the front entrance. The suspect, meanwhile, rummaged through the apartment he broke into looking for valuables to steal while the victim occupant was asleep in his bed. Satisfied with his take, a camera, the suspect left through the front door only to be met by the entire Park Station Midnight Watch.

A stabbing at Arguello Boulevard and Frederick Streets called for a major response from the Park units. Officer Alvaro Abaunza, Officer Ronald Quock, Officer Ryan McArthur, Officer Jeremiah Swangler, Officer Ruben Aguirre, and Sergeant Ryan Jones all responded to assist.

The officers found the victim bleeding profusely and did everything they could to help while waiting for an emergency 408 crew to arrive. Turned out there was a relationship involved somehow between the suspect and the victim. Sergeant Ryan Jones did an outstanding job coordinating an investigation that eventually led to the suspect’s arrest. 

It’s mid-morning when the call that officers don’t look forward to was a “mentally disturbed man with a knife” on the 1400 block of Haight Street. The officers knew the individual by name from prior calls because he had been stalking a female employee of a local business in the neighborhood. He had also served time in Texas for murder. Officer Declan Flannery, Officer Charles Dagit, Officer Sky Schmierer-Marquez, and Officer Thomas Lyons responded and located him this time at the entrance to Golden Gate Park when he took a fighting stance as the officers approached to talk. He then fled from them and locked himself inside one of the stalls in the men’s bathroom. The officers requested a Street Crisis Team to assist. In the meantime, Officer Flannery patiently continued to build a rapport with this individual and eventually talked him into coming out. Which, fortunately, he did.

He was subsequently transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.

We’d like to close this month’s column out with 3 Classics:

#1: Officer Ed Lee, Officer Will Wong, Officer Buddy Siguido, and Officer Jose Mora were just closing out their investigation of their burglary arrest they made on the midnight watch. During the cold show with the victim the suspect made a spontaneous statement citing, “I didn’t take anything, I only kicked in the door.”

His comment, no doubt, reinforcing the reason why we have defense attorneys . . .

#2: And then we have the “experienced” criminal with multiple drug and theft arrests in her portfolio of activity who was arrested, this time, by Officer Stan Bratchikov, Officer Dan Stark, Officer Orpheos TarBox and Jeremy Mitchell for the robbery she just committed. The officers did an outstanding job investigating the theft and soon located the cellphone that was taken.

This particular suspect was already on probation for robbery and assault, had 3 no- bail warrants out of San Francisco for her arrest, and was wearing an ankle monitor to complement her present status.

There’s no doubt she needs to find another profession to pursue.

#3: And, finally, there’s the suspect that Officer Charles Dagit and Officer Declan Flannery arrested for a number of crimes trying to convince the officers that the reason he had lock picks and shaved keys with his property was for his lock-picking “hobby” . . .