SAN FRANCISCO—The man wanted for beating a 96-year-old man in Sonoma County died in police custody Thursday, July 30 after fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run and getting into an altercation with two police officers.
The man has been identified by the SFPD as 57-year-old Filimoni Raiyawa, who at the time was wanted by the Sonoma County Sherriff’s Department for fatally beating 97-year-old Solomon Cohen before 5 a.m. on Thursday, July 30. The SFPD media correspondent told the SF News that Raiyawa, his caregiver left the scene in a light blue Honda Odyssey.
A call was later placed at 5:30 a.m. regarding a three-car collision at Francisco Street and Richardson Avenue, where the suspect, Filimoni Raiyawa, rear-ended another vehicle. The vehicle later collided with a parked car across the street.
The SF Examiner reports that, “the driver of the car tried to speak with the driver of the van [Raiyawa], but told police the man was ‘incoherent’ before following the car driver in a threatening manner.”
The driver contacted the police as Raiyawa walked away from the scene.
Two female SFPD officers identified Raiyawa on Lombard and Pierce Streets, five blocks away from the hit and run scene.
Raiyawa ran down the block to an IHOP restaurant and tried to find refuge on the other side of the emergency exit door, but the employees refused to let him in.
Officers caught up with him and handcuffed him in front of the Surf Motel & Suites located next to IHOP.
The SF Gate reports that, “Willie Gunnari, 35, who lives on Lombard, said he saw the two female police officers trying to subdue the suspect. Gunnari said the man resisted, flailing his arms as the officers hit him with batons,” and proceeded to trip him to the ground before the man was handcuffed.
After confining Raiyawa, authorities noted that the man was in distress and had stopped breathing.
Paramedics arrived on the scene and performed CPR, but Filimoni Raiyawa, which San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr described as a 250-pound, “powerful man” in his mid-50s, died on the sidewalk.
Police are using cameras provided by local businesses to investigate how the Raiyawa died and to determine what transpired leading up to the suspect’s death.
The two female police officers were taken to UCSF Medical Center for minor injuries, where one was treated for a concussion and the other was given a soft cast for an injured wrist.