The San Francico Chronicle reports that up to 14 pedestrians, including one child, have been injured, as many as half critically, in a “hit-and-run spree” in western San Francisco this afternoon. One person was hit across the street from my office, where the sidewalk now is cordoned off, a bicycle with its wheel and frame badly bent and a pile of rags–clothing? makeshift bandages?–lying inside. The suspect, who was driving a black SUV, has been arrested just two blocks from here, at California and Spruce; a reporter-colleague managed to get a picture of the SUV–its passenger-side windshield, hood and bumpers crumpled from the attacks it perpetrated–surrounded by police cars.
“It was like ‘Death Race 2000,'” firefighter Danny Bright said at California and Fillmore streets, with an ambulance nearby. “Guys were walking down the sidewalk and the guy just came up and ran them over. The guy went crazy.”
The SUV was finally stopped–it had to be surrounded and rammed by police cars–just outside the Starbucks at Laurel Village just up the block, where I normally walk at lunch, as my bank, several cafes and a bookstore are there. Today, fortunately, I was so busy at work that I didn’t get away for lunch until after 2:00, at which point the events already were over.
Update: CBS5 in San Francisco has a map online showing the hit-and-run locations. The three red blocks at the left side of the screen are all near my office, the longish building immediately to the southeast of the third red block from the left (although that red block, at least, isn’t quite in the right place, as the hit-and-run was a little bit to the east of the location they’ve marked). And, in a particularly tragic update, the media is now reporting that that particular location was the scene of a fatality–from what I’ve heard from one eyewitness, it appears that the pile of rags I saw, and noted above, actually were the blankets that had been used to cover the body.
Update 8/30: As Gene notes, there’s been no report of any fatalities in San Francisco (the first victim, in Fremont, was killed), so it appears that my co-workers were incorrect about a fatality occurring across the street, where two people were hit.