SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A gunman who killed one person and injured another on a San Francisco subway train has yet to be apprehended, police say. Officers responded to the Muni Forest Hills Station following reports of the shooting just before 10:00 a.m. Wednesday only to find the train had already left the station on its way to the Castro, the city’s historically LGBTQ neighborhood.
Police arrived at the Castro Station and found the two victims, rendered aid and summoned medical attention. One victim, a 70-year-old man, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The second victim, a 27-year-old male, died at the scene.
Myrna Melgar, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, later said the suspect and the victim had been in a heated argument before witnesses heard approximately three or four gunshots. The suspect in the shooting fled the train at the Castro Station and is still at large.
The San Francisco Police Department initially described the suspect as a male of unknown race wearing dark clothes and a hooded jacket. The department later released images of a person of interest in Wednesday’s shooting, asking the public to come forward and contact police with any information.
Public Information Officer Kathryn Winters said the shooting does not appear to be anti-LGBTQ-motivated. “I want to assure the community this incident doesn’t have any connection to Pride event and doesn’t seem to target the LGBT community,” stated Winters, referencing the city’s upcoming Pride parade. “This appears to be an isolated incident,” she added.
Winters further stated that the SFPD will be staffed “to ensure safety throughout the weekend” and will work with state and federal law enforcement to ensure safety during Pride celebrations. She added, however, that they “can’t have an officer on every train.”
Police said the Castro neighborhood’s residents would not need to go on lockdown, which would be triggered if there was evidence this was not an isolated incident or that the suspect was still in the area. The Castro Station, which closed earlier in the day, reopened around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Pride celebrations are scheduled to begin in San Francisco on Friday, and some members of the LGBTQ community are already on edge due to several hate-related incidents, including some in the Bay Area. State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, a Castro resident, sent an extended statement Wednesday afternoon.
“The shooting that occurred on the Muni subway near Castro Station — a subway ride I’ve taken thousands of times over the past 25 years — is a horrific tragedy,” Wiener stated. “It’s another reminder that as long as our country is awash in guns, shootings can happen anywhere, anytime. My heart goes out to the victims, and I know SFPD is working hard to apprehend the shooter. We must recommit as a nation to end the easy availability of guns. California has the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, and we’re continuing to strengthen them. But we need strong action from Congress to truly improve the safety of our community.” Wiener also had to evacuate from his home earlier this month after a bomb threat.