SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A fight over a sandwich at a Subway shop on Market Street in San Francisco late Wednesday morning led to a deadly police shooting.
A stabbing suspect was fatally shot after two police officers walking on Market Street came upon the knife attack in progress, according to authorities.
San Francisco police initially warned residents to avoid the area of Market Street between 5th and 6th streets. The San Francisco Police Department issued the warning via its Twitter account shortly after 11:30 a.m.
A witness later told KPIX 5 that it was a fight inside the Subway that spurred the incident.
“One guy had a brawl going in that little shop over there — the Subway,” said bystander Lester Harris. “The next thing I know, police was coming from everywhere.”
Witnesses took photos of a man with a bloody face sitting on a curb along Market Street being helped by authorities immediately after the incident. He is wearing a Subway work uniform.
A man with a knife began arguing with the Subway employee about a sandwich, sources tell KPIX 5.
Just as two beat cops arrived to help, witnesses said the assailant began stabbing the Subway employee. He then refused to drop his knife when ordered to do so by police.
Market Street was shut down in both directions for hours, according to the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.
A San Francisco police spokesperson confirmed that the incident was an officer-involved shooting shortly before 1 p.m.
SF Police Chief William Scott addressed the incident shortly before 1:15 p.m.
“At 11:22 a.m., two uniformed SF police officers were on foot beat and witnessed a white male stabbing an Asian Filipino male. One officer opened fire,” said Scott.
Scott told the gathered media that the stabbing was in progress when the officers saw the attack happening.
Despite the initiation of lifesaving efforts, the suspect wielding the knife died at the scene.
“The person who was stabbed was transported for treatment,” said Scott, “adding that the suspect is deceased.
Scott also said that this was a preliminary statement and that the investigation into the incident was ongoing.
“Loss of life is always tragic no matter how it happens,” Scott said. “We try to avoid when we can, but we have an obligation to protect the public.”
There was no word as to how many shots were fired or if both officers discharged their weapons in the fatal confrontation.
Police later confirmed that the victim suffered non life-threatening injuries and was recovering at an area hospital.
The incident was the first fatal shooting by a San Francisco police officer this year and the first to happen since Scott took over as the chief of police.
Police shootings are a sensitive issue in San Francisco, much as they are in the rest of the nation. The police shooting of Mario Woods that was caught on video, and the later shooting of Jessica Williams at the end of a stolen car chase, led to the sudden resignation of Police Chief Greg Suhr last year.
Questions were also raised after video went public earlier this year of the non-fatal shooting of Sean More during an argument with police.
During Wednesday’s incident, the nearby Federal building was ordered to shelter in place, according to several tweets.
Muni service on Market Street was affected by the closure, with buses being detoured to Mission Street and the F Market streetcar line being turned around at the Ferry Building and 11th Street.
Market Street reopened at around 4:20 p.m., according to a tweet by the SFMTA.
BART service was impacted and the nearby Powell Street station remained open.
According to police, the incident is under investigation by the San Francisco Police Department’s Homicide and Internal Affairs divisions, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Independent Investigations Bureau, the Department of Police Accountability and the Medical Examiner’s Office.