SF killer preys on homeless, Mission District slaying suggests

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 8 Nov 1998 07:41:49 -0400


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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=3D/examiner/archive/1998/11/0=
7/NEWS
10465.dtl
=46WD  San Francisco Examiner  - Nov. 7, 1998 - Page A 1


POLICE SEARCH FOR CITY SLASHER
Slaying of woman in Mission District
suggests suspect preys on homeless

Marianne Costantinou & Jim Herron Zamora
of the Examiner Staff


       Police have linked the murder last month of a homeless woman who had
her throat slashed while sleeping on a Mission District sidewalk to two
nonfatal attacks of homeless men in North Beach.

       All three victims had their throats slashed in attacks that occurred
within a 48-hour period in mid-October, and were unprovoked and appeared
random, police said Friday.

       "We're pretty confident that these three are all the work of one
person," said police Capt. Kevin Dillon. "We're sure these three cases are
all linked."

       There have been no arrests.

       On Oct. 18, Shirley Dillahunty, 48, was found about 2:30 a.m. on the
pavement in front of the Women's Building at 3543 18th St. in the Mission.
Her throat had been slashed while she slept. A message was written next to
her in blood, but police did not disclose what it said. She died about an
hour later at San Francisco General Hospital.

       Two days earlier and just two hours apart, two men were attacked in
North Beach.

       On Oct. 16, at about 3 a.m., a sleeping man's throat was slashed. He
survived, but was severely injured.

       At 5 a.m., a homeless man who was out walking told police a man on
foot approached him and, without warning, slashed his throat. He also
survived.

       Police plan to look back through their files at least six months to
see if there were other attacks on homeless people that might be related,
he said.

       Details from police about all three incidents were sketchy. Police
would not release the names of the North Beach victims or give the location
of the attacks, claiming it might compromise the investigation. They also
would not divulge what specific evidence linked the attacks.

       Two other recent attacks - one on a woman found dead with her throat
slashed in her South of Market hotel room, the other on a man believed
homeless who was stabbed and beaten in the same neighborhood - were not
related, police said. Again, police declined to explain why.

       News of the attacks was relayed to the homeless and their advocacy
groups not by The City, but by reporters who sought out their opinions
after police sent out a two-paragraph press release minutes before 5 p.m.
=46riday.

       "We haven't heard anything from the police or the mayor's Office on
Homelessness," said Paul Boden, head of the nonprofit Coalition on
Homelessness. "People have got to hear about this. Word-of-mouth is a
tremendous tool on the street.

       "If they want to get the word out, they don't call the media," Boden
said. "Homeless people aren't going to hear about it turning on the 11
o'clock TV news or picking up the Saturday Examiner."

       Boden criticized not only the failure of police and the mayor's
office to contact him and shelter providers, but for taking three weeks to
establish a link.

       Part of the reason for the delay, he claimed, is that crimes against
the homeless are not given adequate attention.

       "If a rash of tourists were stabbed over several days, there'd be a
major response," said Boden.

       From 1995 to 1997, 22 homeless people were the random victims of
homicide, said Josh Brandon of the San Francisco Department of Public
Health, who heads the Homeless Death Prevention Task Force, established in
1996 to study the reasons for homeless mortality.

       In each of the 22 homicides, he said, the evidence indicated the
victims were targeted because they were homeless. But they are invisible
victims, whose deaths cause little publicity, he said.

       "Who cares or worries when a homeless person is killed?" said
Brandon. "Who's really going to care if you slit a homeless woman's
throat?"

       Police Chief Fred Lau said all city residents are treated the same.

       "Whether you live in a home or on the street we have an obligation
to provide public safety," he said. "We're not going to differentiate our
delivery of police services."

       The other two cases which police said were not related also caught
the attention of homeless advocates.

       On Oct. 15, a day before the series of attacks, Brandy Toms, 47, was
found dead from a slashing in her second-floor room at the Seneca Hotel, a
residence hotel on Sixth and Natoma frequented by the homeless.

       And early last Thursday, 40-year-old Willie Tatum was stabbed in the
chest and attacked with his own cane on Sixth and Minna, just down the
street from Toms' murder. Police stated at the time that his throat was cut
and that he was believed to be homeless.

       There have been no arrests in those attacks either.

       On Friday night, upon hearing about the rash of assaults, homeless
people expressed little surprise or fear. They know the streets are
dangerous, and that the homeless are often victims of crime.

       "The streets are no place I really want to be at night," said a
35-year-old who identified himself as Al, as he stood outside the McMillan
Drop-In Center at 39 Fell St.

       "People do whatever they want to do at night," he said. "There's no
telling what's on somebody's mind. It's scary to whoever has to live out
here."

END FORWARD
-

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receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

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7/NEWS10465.dtl


=46WD  San Francisco Examiner  - Nov. 7, 1998 - Page A 1



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>POLICE SEARCH FOR CITY SLASHER

Slaying of woman in Mission District

suggests suspect preys on homeless


Marianne Costantinou & Jim Herron Zamora

of the Examiner Staff

</paraindent>


       Police have linked the murder last month of a homeless woman who
had her throat slashed while sleeping on a Mission District sidewalk to
two nonfatal attacks of homeless men in North Beach.=20


       All three victims had their throats slashed in attacks that
occurred within a 48-hour period in mid-October, and were unprovoked
and appeared random, police said Friday.=20


       "We're pretty confident that these three are all the work of one
person," said police Capt. Kevin Dillon. "We're sure these three cases
are all linked."=20


       There have been no arrests.=20


       On Oct. 18, Shirley Dillahunty, 48, was found about 2:30 a.m. on
the pavement in front of the Women's Building at 3543 18th St. in the
Mission. Her throat had been slashed while she slept. A message was
written next to her in blood, but police did not disclose what it said.
She died about an hour later at San Francisco General Hospital.=20


       Two days earlier and just two hours apart, two men were attacked
in North Beach.=20


       On Oct. 16, at about 3 a.m., a sleeping man's throat was
slashed. He survived, but was severely injured.=20


       At 5 a.m., a homeless man who was out walking told police a man
on foot approached him and, without warning, slashed his throat. He
also survived.=20


       Police plan to look back through their files at least six months
to see if there were other attacks on homeless people that might be
related, he said.=20


       Details from police about all three incidents were sketchy.
Police would not release the names of the North Beach victims or give
the location of the attacks, claiming it might compromise the
investigation. They also would not divulge what specific evidence
linked the attacks.=20


       Two other recent attacks - one on a woman found dead with her
throat slashed in her South of Market hotel room, the other on a man
believed homeless who was stabbed and beaten in the same neighborhood -
were not related, police said. Again, police declined to explain why.=20


       News of the attacks was relayed to the homeless and their
advocacy groups not by The City, but by reporters who sought out their
opinions after police sent out a two-paragraph press release minutes
before 5 p.m. Friday.=20


       "We haven't heard anything from the police or the mayor's Office
on Homelessness," said Paul Boden, head of the nonprofit Coalition on
Homelessness. "People have got to hear about this. Word-of-mouth is a
tremendous tool on the street.=20


       "If they want to get the word out, they don't call the media,"
Boden said. "Homeless people aren't going to hear about it turning on
the 11 o'clock TV news or picking up the Saturday Examiner."=20


       Boden criticized not only the failure of police and the mayor's
office to contact him and shelter providers, but for taking three weeks
to establish a link.=20


       Part of the reason for the delay, he claimed, is that crimes
against the homeless are not given adequate attention.=20


       "If a rash of tourists were stabbed over several days, there'd
be a major response," said Boden.=20


       From 1995 to 1997, 22 homeless people were the random victims of
homicide, said Josh Brandon of the San Francisco Department of Public
Health, who heads the Homeless Death Prevention Task Force, established
in 1996 to study the reasons for homeless mortality.=20


       In each of the 22 homicides, he said, the evidence indicated the
victims were targeted because they were homeless. But they are
invisible victims, whose deaths cause little publicity, he said.=20


       "Who cares or worries when a homeless person is killed?" said
Brandon. "Who's really going to care if you slit a homeless woman's
throat?"=20


       Police Chief Fred Lau said all city residents are treated the
same.=20


       "Whether you live in a home or on the street we have an
obligation to provide public safety," he said. "We're not going to
differentiate our delivery of police services."=20


       The other two cases which police said were not related also
caught the attention of homeless advocates.=20


       On Oct. 15, a day before the series of attacks, Brandy Toms, 47,
was found dead from a slashing in her second-floor room at the Seneca
Hotel, a residence hotel on Sixth and Natoma frequented by the
homeless.=20


       And early last Thursday, 40-year-old Willie Tatum was stabbed in
the chest and attacked with his own cane on Sixth and Minna, just down
the street from Toms' murder. Police stated at the time that his throat
was cut and that he was believed to be homeless.=20


       There have been no arrests in those attacks either.=20


       On Friday night, upon hearing about the rash of assaults,
homeless people expressed little surprise or fear. They know the
streets are dangerous, and that the homeless are often victims of
crime.=20


       "The streets are no place I really want to be at night," said a
35-year-old who identified himself as Al, as he stood outside the
McMillan Drop-In Center at 39 Fell St.=20


       "People do whatever they want to do at night," he said. "There's
no telling what's on somebody's mind. It's scary to whoever has to live
out here."


END FORWARD

-=20

 =20

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is=
 distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in=
 receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. *=
*


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink=
=2Enet>

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