SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/BCN) – Two Fisherman’s Wharf merchants were slain by a businessman from a rival store Sunday night in an apparent dispute over the sale of similar merchandise, San Francisco police said.
The suspect, 56-year-old Hong Ri Wu, of San Francisco, was taken into custody at the shop at 269 Jefferson St. where he allegedly shot Qiong Han Chu, a 30-year-old man, and Feng Ping Ou, a 30-year-old woman, police said.
The shootings were reported at 8:20 p.m. at the store, which sells souvenirs and luggage, according to police.
Police said Wu, a competitor at a nearby store who knew the victims, walked into the store and allegedly shot Chu and Ou. The victims, both San Francisco residents, were pronounced dead at the scene.
“It’s a dispute between merchants regarding the selling of similar items,” police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.
Interim police Chief Jeff Godown called the shootings an “isolated incident.” A gun believed to be the murder weapon was recovered at the scene, he said.
KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:
Wu was booked into San Francisco County Jail Monday morning on two counts of murder, according to the sheriff’s department.
Police are hoping that two tourists, a man and a woman who were in the store at the time and spoke briefly with police but did not leave their contact information, will come forward.
Rick Havener, who is friends with the Bush Man, was hanging out with the popular street performer across the street from the store when the shooting happened.
He said he heard one distinct shot followed a short time later by six or seven muffled shots.
He went across the street and saw a young Asian woman lying inside the store near the counter with a gunshot wound to her head, he said. He didn’t go inside the business.
Police arrived and entered the store, and came back out a short time later with an older Asian man in handcuffs, he said.
The shooting did not initially cause a commotion because nobody seemed to realize what had happened, Havener said.
“No one panicked, no one knew…no one went screaming out into the street or anything,” he said.
Maurice Tsuts, who works at a camera shop about half a block away at Jefferson and Jones streets, said he heard the gunshots but thought it was children throwing poppers on the ground.
He said there is often tension between business owners in the neighborhood because so many Fisherman’s Wharf stores sell similar goods.
“There’s stiff competition around here,” he said.
Eric Manley, an employee at Wharf T-shirts, said many businesses’ leases restrict what items each store is allowed to sell.
He said some local storeowners took comfort in knowing that the shooting was not random.
“It’s so tragic, but we’re a little relieved it’s not a robbery, to be honest,” Manley said.
Regardless, Colin Fischer, who runs Bike & Roll one block over, said he plans to buy a new camera surveillance system Monday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact homicide Inspector Martin at (415) 553-9183 or the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.
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