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Close Encounters November 2022

November 1, 2022

It’s sunset in the Mission District and Officer Gustavo Lopez and his partner, Officer Diego Rodriquez-Ortiz were patrolling the Dolores Park neighborhood when they were approached by a woman who was screaming hysterically in Spanish about someone who had a gun.
Fortunately, both officers were Spanish-speaking and realized the woman was pointing at an individual who was running away from the park who, she explained, had just pointed a gun at another person, putting it to his head while trying to rob him.
Officer Rodriquez-Ortiz and Officer Lopez initiated a chase with the assistance of Officer Kyl Deidrick.
The officers managed to conduct a high-risk stop of the suspect at 20th and Guerrero Streets and located a gun tucked in the suspect’s waistband.
The victim positively identified the person stopped as being the one who put a gun to his head and tried to rob him.
Sergeant Michael Petuya took the time to submit a Captain’s Commendation for all involved citing, “The suspect in this incident has an extensive criminal history including violent robberies and assaults.”
Fortunately, this incident came to a close with the courageous actions of the officers, resulting in the capture of an armed and dangerous felon.
The question remains, “How many more are out there just like this one?!”

In the Ingleside:
The suspect savagely beat the mother of his 2 children, ages 11 and 14, stabbing her multiple times. The children could not stop the assault so they ran from their home to get help. The suspect escaped capture during the initial phase of this assault but that issue ended quickly when Officer Victor Custodio and Officer Clarens Caine became aware of the incident.
They both knew the suspect from prior contacts and they had received information that he was staying in a hotel in the Tenderloin. Further investigation revealed that he was getting ready to flee the country. So the officers used a close associate to talk him out of his room and took him into custody.
Sergeant Yasar Shah submitted a Captain’s Commendation for the outstanding investigation conducted by the officers citing, “Due to their diligence and investigation and police tactics the officers were able to locate and apprehend a suspect responsible for attempting to murder his wife in front of their 2 children. The officers in this incident demonstrated a coordinated response to the information they were provided and were relentless in their effort to take a violent felon off the streets. And, finally, “All the officers involved in this investigation and arrest should be commended for their excellent police work.”
Can’t argue with that recommendation!
Talk about close calls . . . Officer Lindsay Droz, Officer Laura Zasly and Officer Ari Smith-Russack responded to a call to 24th and Mission regarding “a man with a gun.” That area is normally heavily travelled with hundreds of people in the general area. The witness told the officers he saw a man with a handgun in his waistband. They found the suspect nearby and ordered him to the ground but he would not comply and started down the stairs to the lower BART tunnel.
The officers followed not knowing what to expect but managed to get the upper hand and disarmed the suspect, relieving him of the loaded semi-automatic weapon he had in his possession.

Once again, we find ourselves approaching the Season of Sharing with Thanksgiving right around the corner. As such, we’d like to take this time to thank everyone who made it possible for us to prepare the monthly column, Close Encounters, over the past year starting off with Ray Shine, the Managing Editor who simply does an amazing job month after month.
And then there’s our Officer Manager, Cyndee Bates and her assistant, Leah Daye, both a tremendous help in production of the Journal as well as handling numerous other everyday POA functions.
And we wouldn’t be thanking anyone if it wasn’t for Michael Popoff, our 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 lay-out 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 Val Kirwan, Paul Chignell, Kevin Martin, Sergeant Jarrod Yee, and especially Al Duarte for their tremendous assistance in providing us with material each on a much-needed monthly basis to include Risa Tom, an Archivist for the Department who was extremely helpful.
One never knows what the future holds so I am specifically wishing you all the best for the New Year, stay safe, and thank you for allowing me 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.