SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott released a public apology and announced a pause on plain clothes police operations on Thursday, May 13. The apology and pause are connected to an incident that occurred Friday, May 7, in which an officer fired and injured a car burglary suspect. The chief stated that the firing “should not have happened” and the officer is currently being investigated.
The suspect in the incident is 23 year-old Xavier Pittman Jr., who was connected to a series of five car break-ins that happened in a 45-minute timespan around the city. A silver Mitsubishi Eclipse was seen at all five smash and grabs that were reported by witnesses that afternoon. Police said the plain clothes officers were dispatched to find the suspects soon after the calls came in and the license plate of the Eclipse showed it had been stolen.
Officer Zachary McAuliffe and other officers found the vehicle on Jack London Alley near Varney Place where the officers found Pittman & other suspects going through the stolen goods. On security footage, the officers were seen rushing the suspects with McAuliffe brandishing his firearm while he ran at Pittman and this is when the shot was fired, hitting Pittman in his wrist.
The suspects were not armed according to police and Pittman was taken to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. He was later booked into SF County Jail and charged with five counts of second-degree auto burglary, conspiracy, and possession of stolen property.
“I’m deeply sorry, that Mr. Pittman was shot during this incident and I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Mr. Pittman, his family and friends,” said Chief Scott in the released video. Scott also stated that Officer McAuliffe wished him to convey his sympathies to Mr. Pittman and that he sends his “sincere apologies to Mr. Pittman and wishes him a full and speedy recovery.”
The investigation will be conducted by the District Attorney’s Office on whether the shooting was intentional or not and if McAuliffe will face criminal charges.