SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — City employees on Monday returned to work to face the sobering reality of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s sudden death during the past weekend.
On Friday night, the 59-year-old Adachi was declared dead at California Pacific Medical Center. A statement from the San Francisco Public Defender’s office said the cause of death was a heart attack. The San Francisco Police Department is investigating the incident.
Monday, SF District Attorney George Gascon expressed his sadness at Adachi’s passing, saying he had a lot in common with the public defender and actually communicated with him quite a bit.
“We used to go to the same gym,” Gascon told reporters. “At five o’clock in the morning, Jeff always had a case to talk about. It was always a different case every morning. I’d say, ‘Jeff, I’m here to workout’ and we would laugh.”
Gascon chalked it up to Adachi’s passion for defending the public.
“Our conversations often would be on the weekends; it would be a text message on a Sunday night about a case that was coming up Monday or Tuesday,” explained Gascon.
When asked about some of the head-scratching details surrounding Adachi’s death, Gascon refused to comment.
“I’m not going to speculate or get into areas that I believe are wholly inappropriate for us to do,” Gascon said. “I think that, you know, it’s appropriate for the coroner to do their inquiry, and they’re doing so. And then we’ll go from there.”
There are questions about the circumstances of Adachi’s death. The timeline leaves some gaps that remain unexplained several days later.
According to San Francsico Fire Department dispatch records, the 9-1-1 call came in at 5:41 p.m. on Friday evening. A fire truck, Advanced Life Services truck, and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.
The ambulance arrived at 5:51 p.m. and left for the hospital 38 minutes later, at 6:29 p.m. The ambulance arrived at the hospital ten minutes later. Adachi was declared dead at 6:54 p.m.. The San Francisco Police Department says it was called at 8:30 p.m.
This timeline raises some potential issues. If Adachi was alive when the ambulance arrived, why not take him to the hospital immediately? And if there were suspicious circumstances, why weren’t the police called sooner? There may be good explanations for this series of events, but we don’t have answers yet.
The SFPD has refused to release the police report or details of the incident, saying it would “endanger the safety of a witness or other person involved in the investigation, or… endanger the successful completion of the investigation or a related investigation.”