Call of Attempted Carjacking with a Knife Leads to Officer Involved Shooting (Town Hall Notes) 20-114(c)

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Update Photo for Otis OIS

The following information is based on a preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview witnesses, review physical and electronic records, and analyze forensic evidence. The Department's understanding of the facts and circumstances may change as additional evidence is collected and analyzed.

The information provided today regarding these events is based on a preliminary review of Body-Worn Camera (BWC) and surveillance video, initial statements and interviews, and evidence processed to this point.

The Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) that occurred Saturday, October 10, 2020, was preceded by an incident in which the suspect committed a carjacking in the Southern Police District of San Francisco. The carjacking incident occurred in close proximity to the OIS, both in location and time.

The precise chronology of these events is currently under investigation. As the investigation unfolds we will learn more information. The following is a summary of events as they are understood as of today, Monday, October 19, 2020:

 

  • On Saturday, October 10, 2020, at approximately 11:25 pm, witnesses standing in the area of the 1700 block of Market Street observed a male running west on Market Street to south on Valencia Street, where he stopped in the middle of the street. The male was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.
  • The male, later identified as Cesar Antonio Vargas, then walked north on Valencia Street towards Market Street and approached a vehicle that was stopped at a signal light in the center lane of northbound Valencia Street.
  • Mr. Vargas approached the passenger side of the vehicle from the rear, opened the passenger side front door, immediately closed it, and walked to the sidewalk on the northeast corner of Valencia and Market Streets.

 

  • Mr. Vargas then crossed from the northeast corner onto Market Street towards the westbound lanes of vehicular traffic and stopped in front of a dark-colored Toyota Prius. The Prius was traveling west on Market St. in the traffic lane closest to the center of the street.
  •  Per the driver of the vehicle, Mr. Vargas shouted something to the effect of “kill me bitch.” Mr. Vargas leaped on the hood of the Prius and then jumped up and down on the hood, windshield, and roof. The Prius’ windshield was shattered and caved-in as a result of Mr. Vargas’ actions. Glass from the windshield fell onto the victim as she sat in her vehicle.
  • Fearing for her life, the victim opened the vehicle driver door in an attempt to escape from Mr. Vargas, at which time Mr. Vargas yelled “Bitch, get out the car. Bitch, get out the car.” Mr. Vargas then jumped from the roof, grabbed the victim, and held a knife to her face while she was seated in the vehicle.
  •  The victim told Mr. Vargas, “you can take whatever you want, just don’t hurt me.” Per the victim, Mr. Vargas replied something to the effect of “I don’t want anything” or “I don’t need anything.”
  • The victim was pulled from her vehicle by Mr. Vargas. The victim’s necklace was ripped from her neck at this time and fell onto a raised traffic median.
  • Once outside her vehicle, the victim raised her hands in front of herself at shoulder level and stated to Mr. Vargas, “Ok, ok, ok,” as she backed away from him. Mr. Vargas entered the victim’s vehicle, closed the driver door, and the vehicle moved a short distance. He then exited the vehicle, and it rolled unoccupied west on Market Street, eventually coming to a stop on the north sidewalk.
  • After Mr. Vargas exited the victim’s vehicle, a witness approached him and stated “What the F do you think you are doing?” The witness observed Mr. Vargas was holding an object in his hand which protruded 2 to 3 inches from both sides of his hand.

 

  • Seeing that Mr. Vargas had exited her vehicle, the victim ran from the traffic median into the eastbound lanes of Market Street, and screamed “He’s coming back, he’s coming back.”
  • Mr. Vargas then ran east on Market Street towards Gough Street. The witness followed Mr. Vargas, placed a call to 911, and described him as a mixed-race male, in his 20’s, wearing thick glasses, a gray sweatshirt, dark jeans, and black shoes.
  • Mr. Vargas continued on foot and approached the southwest corner of Market and Gough Streets where a MUNI bus was stopped facing east in a traffic lane near the center of the street. A silver BMW sedan was stopped parallel and to the rear of the front of the bus in the traffic lane closest to the curb.
  • Mr. Vargas ran behind the bus from the north side of Market Street and onto the bus stop platform between the 2 traffic lanes. Mr. Vargas then attempted to open one of the silver BMW sedan driver side doors. The witness yelled to the driver of the sedan to keep driving.
  • After the silver sedan left, Mr. Vargas stepped into the traffic lane closest to the curb, returned to the bus platform, and with his left hand shoved a disembarked bus passenger in his chest. Mr. Vargas was holding a knife in his right hand.
  • Mr. Vargas approached the bus front passenger door, tapped on it, and walked east on Market Street to south on Gough Street. Once on Gough Street, Mr. Vargas walked in and out of the traffic lanes.

 

  • An unidentified female crossed Gough Street, approached her parked vehicle, took her keys out, and unlocked and opened her driver door. Mr. Vargas ran across the street towards the female. The witness, who was still following Mr. Vargas, stated “I could see he (Mr. Vargas) was watching her.”
  • The witness yelled to Mr. Vargas, “Stay away from her,” and “Ma’am, shut your door!” Mr. Vargas attempted to open the driver door of the vehicle; however, the female had locked it. Mr. Vargas continued to walk back and forth on Gough Street between Market and Otis Streets.
  • At approximately 11:30 pm, Southern Station patrol officers arrived on Valencia Street and met with witnesses, one of whom was on the phone with a 911 operator. The witnesses informed the officers of the carjacking, provided a description of Mr. Vargas, advised that he was in possession of a knife, and pointed out Mr. Vargas’ direction of travel. The witnesses also told the officers another witness was following Mr. Vargas
  • The officers drove east on Market Street to Gough Street where they came into contact with the witness, who provided officers with a description of Mr. Vargas. Immediately thereafter, the officers observed Mr. Vargas run south on Gough Street to east on Colton Street. Officers activated their vehicle emergency lights and siren, and informed dispatch they were in pursuit of Mr. Vargas, while he continued to run.
  • Mr. Vargas ran east on Colton Street to south on Brady Street. Video footage from a building on Brady Street shows Mr. Vargas in possession of a knife in his right hand. Mr. Vargas continued to run south on Brady Street on the west sidewalk to west on Otis Street where he entered the street.

The driver officer stopped the patrol car at the corner of Brady and Otis Streets and both officers exited the vehicle and pursued Mr. Vargas west on Otis Street. Mr. Vargas then stopped.

 

Officers stated the following to Mr. Vargas:

“Get on the ground right now.”

“Let me see your hands.”

“What do you got, what do you got, man?”

“Drop it, drop it.”

“What do you have? Drop it.”

“Get down on the ground.”

“Hey, put the knife down.”

“Get back, get back.”

 

  • Mr. Vargas with his left hand removed the hood of his sweatshirt from his head, took off his glasses, and threw them to the ground. Mr. Vargas took steps backward, and then sprinted towards one of the officers with the knife in his right hand. Mr. Vargas yelled, “Bitch, I’ll kill ya (racial slur).”
  • While retreating from Mr. Vargas, officers discharged their firearms, and Mr. Vargas fell to the ground.

Officers immediately broadcast they had been involved in a shooting, and requested medical assistance.

· Officers ordered Mr. Vargas several times to place his hands by his side, and he did not comply with their direction.

· Officers then formed a tactical plan to approach Mr. Vargas. Utilizing a ballistic shield, officers approached Mr. Vargas, handcuffed him, and initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Additional Information:

· It was determined that Mr. Vargas was struck by gunfire.

· Mr. Vargas was pronounced deceased at the scene by medical personnel.

Evidence:

· Evidence was located at the carjacking and officer-involved shooting scenes.

· Evidence recovered included the victim’s vehicle and necklace, and Mr. Vargas’ glasses and knife.

Video:

· Video was recovered from multiple sources, including:

o Body-worn cameras

o Privately owned surveillance cameras

o Additional video is being sought by investigators

Witnesses:

· Independent witnesses to the preliminary crimes were located and have been interviewed.

· The victim of the carjacking was located and has been interviewed.

· Additional witnesses are being sought by investigators.

Suspect:

Cesar Antonio Vargas

DOB: 3/26/1999

Involved Members

The members involved in this officer-involved shooting are:

Officer Kyle Roach #2457

Officer Nicholas Delgado #2415

In accordance with Department policy, all members involved in an OIS are immediately placed on paid administrative leave.

Additional Investigation(s)

· The Independent Investigations Bureau (IIB) of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation of the officer-involved shooting.

· The San Francisco Police Department Investigative Services Detail is conducting an investigation of crimes ancillary to the officer-involved shooting.

· The SFPD Internal Affairs Division is conducting an administrative investigation.

· The Department of Police Accountability is conducting an administrative investigation.

· The Office of the Medical Examiner is conducting an investigation.

· Investigators are in the process of determining if any other related incidents occurred in this area prior to the Officer-Involved Shooting.

To access the video to the virtual town hall meeting please click the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLKkoNhtPapzj5DiH4W3Q4w

Photos presented in the town hall meeting accompany this news release.

A PDF copy of Chief Scott's notes can be found here.

Photos can be found below.

The video presentation utilized in the virtual town hall can be found here.

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Photo of Knife for OIS
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Photo of OIS
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