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Close Encounters January 2023

January 1, 2023

It’s customary to end each Close Encounter article with a careful reminder to “stay safe.” or, even a more sensible “Let’s be careful out there.” an admonishment borrowed from the famous Michael Conrad from the “Hill Street Blues”police-television series a “few” years ago.

But we include such admonishments towards the end of the column to remind officers, and especially the public, of the inherent danger in the job the officers perform.

Especially when it involves guns.

So when Officer Christopher Kosta and Officer Gustavo Lopez conducted a traffic stop on a van whose driver immediately dumped a high-powered rifle when he was pulled over for committing numerous traffic violations, they wanted to know more about what he and his passengers were up to. (We’re pretty sure it wasn’t legal . . . )

The traffic stop investigation resulted in an arrest and the gun is now out of circulation.
But we included a photo of the weapon in this particular case because, fully-loaded, it could easily have been used to open fire on both Officer Kosta and Officer Gustavo as well as other police officers. Scary stuff.

Officer Ryan Buckley and Officer Cassie Avila had their hands full trying to track down a robbery suspect prowling through the 25th and Treat Streets neighborhood. They were soon joined by Officer Christopher Barajas and Officer Yosel Segundo. The whole group was led by a few good Samaritans who were following the suspects on foot.

The officers eventually managed to capture the suspect responsible for the robbery even though he was carrying a short-barreled assault rifle (i.e. an AK47) with an extended magazine as well as a separate, semi-automatic weapon. The officers who responded at the time probably didn’t realize the exact extent of armament that was available to the suspects involved in this caper. There was a lot. We definitely need to list the back-up officers as well in this incident – it was that dangerous: Officer Eric Dyer, Officer Angel Aroche, Officer John Solomon, and Officer Scott Butland.

And, in the Southern District, Sergeant Robert Glenn prepared a commendation for Officer Brittney Taylor and Officer Kyle Roach for their outstanding investigation with limited resources which helped them capture a suspect conducting the sale of illegal narcotics in the district. And that ‘s where we need to start. We don’t need a criminal enterprise selling merchandise that was stolen off the shelves of high-end stores, in the City -- we need someone to shut them down. And we don’t need any more mentally challenged individuals attacking and critically injuring the the public visiting San Francisco.

And in the Southern District Officer Schiff and Officer Buckley responded to a report of a serious assault that just took place outside the theatre district at 973 Market where the suspect attacked an innocent citizen. The victim was just walking by when the suspect attacked him viciously. The video available in the area showed exactly that.

The video also documented the fact that this was a brutal, unprovoked attack where the suspect ran up behind the victim, punched him in the face, and then he repeatedly beat the defenseless victim while he was unconscious lying on the ground. The victim couldn’t remember much but that was understandable since he did sustain serious injuries with several facial fractures from the assault. This wasn’t the first time someone who wasn’t aware of the functioning criminal Zone in the City paid the consequences.

And, yes, we will wish you a wonderful New Year, but first we need to Take Our City Back - Enough of the “hall passes” for first offenders. The Penal Code doesn’t recognize nor require them. And while we can’t solve all the problems in the world, we can do a better job than trying to hide our mentally ill with a temporary 5150 stay. Simply ask the poor victim of the most recent Market Street assault - He should also, as a priority, have a say as to what should be done to the man who almost killed him.

And, we almost forgot, “Let’s be careful out there!”