Notes Used in the Presentation of the April 30, 2020 Town Hall to Address the April 21st Officer Involved Shooting

Board used in officer-involved shooting incident


Image of Map for OIS Incident


The Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) that occurred Tuesday, April 21, 2020 was preceded by an incident in which the suspect committed an aggravated assault of a victim in the Central Police District of San Francisco. The aggravated assault incident occurred in close proximity to the OIS, both in location and time. The physical description of the Suspect and weapon used in both incidents also closely matched.

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 precise chronology of these incidents is currently under investigation. The following is a summary of events as they are understood as of today, Thursday, April 30, 2020:

  • On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at 5:32 a.m., the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (also known as DEM) received a 911 call regarding a possible robbery and aggravated assault on the 600 block of Post Street.
  • In this incident, Officers from the Central Police District responded to an “A” priority call regarding a report of a male subject who had struck the Victim with a wooden board. At the time of occurrence, the Victim was walking his dog when he was struck multiple times by the Suspect, who waited in an alcove of a building as the Victim walked by. During the incident, the Victim lost his phone and sustained serious injuries to his face.
  • A description of the Suspect was provided by the 911 caller to the dispatcher. The description is as follows:

 - “…an African-American gentlemen, with braids, and about six feet or so, maybe 170 or 180 pounds…He’s          wearing white sweatshirt, white type shirt, and a lighter pair of pants…He has a board with him.”

  • Central District Officers were dispatched to the 600 block of Post Street at 5:36 a.m., and located the Victim at 5:40 a.m.
  • Responding Officers located the crime scene and summoned emergency medical aid for the Victim. Officers were then informed that the suspect had fled on foot after the attack.
  • The Victim initially believed his phone had been taken during the incident, but later located it near the scene.
  • At 6:36 a.m., approximately one hour after the initial aggravated assault call, DEM received a 911 call from the Pierre Hotel, located at 540 Jones Street.
  • The caller stated: “We need the police to come to the Pierre Hotel quick, there’s a guy in here, he’s waving knives at people, and all type of stuff, and he won’t leave the building…He’s locked himself behind the door, and he’s swinging a bloody two-by-four, he keeps reaching like he has a weapon…He has a two-by-four out, I seen something, I don’t know if it was a knife, I don’t know what it is, but he keeps reaching for it, but he keeps swinging a two-by-four.”
  • The 911 Caller further described that the subject locked himself inside the clerk’s office in the lobby of the hotel. The Caller described the Subject as a light-skinned, slim African-American male with “dreads,” in his late 20s or early 30s, 5’9”, wearing a red or white shirt. The caller then stated, “I gotta get off the phone, he looks like he’s about to hit my co-worker…he keeps opening the door…” The call then abruptly disconnected.
  • DEM received the 911 call at 6:36 a.m. Tenderloin District Officers were then dispatched to 540 Jones Street, and arrived on scene at 6:43 a.m. While Officers were en route to this incident, the dispatcher informed them, “be advised, earlier there was a 594 [vandalism call] and a 211 [robbery call] in the Central, Jones and Geary, that had a similar, possibly the same suspect description with the two-by-four.”
  • Officers arrived at the Pierre Hotel at 6:43 a.m. and entered the hotel lobby where they observed a man, later identified as Thomas O’Bannon, inside of the enclosed clerk’s office.
  • At this time, the Officers began speaking with Mr. O’Bannon through a window in the plexiglass enclosure.
  • Additional Officers began evacuating uninvolved building occupants from the lobby area.
  • Officers observed that Mr. O’Bannon was bleeding from a wound to his left hand, and they requested an ambulance to respond to their location and stand by.
  • For the next several minutes, Officers attempted to calm Mr. O’Bannon. During this time, Mr. O’Bannon refused the Officers’ requests that he place his hands through the window for handcuffing, and repeatedly held up the wooden board across his chest.
  • The primary Officer explained that he and other Officers wanted to help end the incident peacefully. The Officer noticed that Mr. O’Bannon continually glanced at the less-lethal weapon the Officer was holding. The Officer explained that the object was a “bean bag gun” that is for non-lethal force, and that the Officer possessed it because Mr. O’Bannon had a weapon.
  • Mr. O’Bannon made statements throughout this time period to the Officers, such as “I’m not going nowhere,” “I’m not going back,” and “There ain’t gonna be no peace.”
  • At 6:53 a.m., after the initial Officers had been on scene for 10 minutes, SFPD patrol supervisors arrived on scene. An SFPD Sergeant took over communication with Mr. O’Bannon, and attempted to persuade him to surrender peacefully.
  • Mr. O’Bannon then began to alternately pace on foot within the office and sit in office chairs while holding the wooden board and speaking with the Sergeant.
  • At 7:13 a.m. (SFPD on scene for 30 minutes) a San Francisco Fire Department paramedic began to speak with Mr. O’Bannon. The paramedic explained that she was not a police officer, and that she and her partner wanted to provide medical help to Mr. O’Bannon. She showed Mr. O’Bannon some of the equipment the paramedics had brought, and attempted to persuade him to exit the room peacefully. Mr. O’Bannon would not cooperate and refused multiple requests to walk out of the room to end the conflict.
  • At 7:25 a.m. (SFPD on scene for 43 minutes), SFPD Officers resumed speaking with Mr. O’Bannon. He began walking around within the office; moved large boxes and office electronics to the back door area of the office; and stacked them to erect a barrier. Mr. O’Bannon became agitated, picking up the wooden board and again holding it diagonally in front of his body.
  • At 7:29 a.m. (SFPD on scene for 47 minutes), a woman who identified herself as a case manager attempted to speak with Mr. O’Bannon. The case manager asked Mr. O’Bannon to pass the wooden board through the plexiglass window several times, and Mr. O’Bannon refused. The case manager was later determined to be an employee of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic.
  • The case manager continued to speak with Mr. O’Bannon for several minutes. During this interaction, Mr. O’Bannon stood up from a chair and picked up a screwdriver. He then picked up the board and began striking it against the plexiglass partition. Mr. O’Bannon alternated between speaking with the case manager and striking the walls, windows, and back door with the board. Mr. O’Bannon then opened what appeared to be the security or fire alarm box behind the desk and began attempting to damage the device and pull it off of the wall. He then thrust the wooden board out of the plexiglass window opening, and slammed the board against the rails of the opening. Due to this behavior, the case manager could not safely continue speaking with Mr. O’Bannon.
  • Officers again began speaking with Mr. O’Bannon. Mr. O’Bannon picked up a fire extinguisher and continued to stack more items against the rear exit door.
  • At 7:52 a.m., SFPD had been on scene for one hour and nine minutes. Officers formulated a plan and opened the rear door of the office, issuing verbal commands to Mr. O’Bannon as they attempted to take him into custody. 
  • Mr. O’Bannon immediately began to resist, raised the wooden board and thrust it out of the door towards the Officers in an overhand striking motion as Officers attempted to make entry into the clerk’s office.
  • Mr. O’Bannon then lost control of the wooden board as an Officer attempted to take it from his grasp, and withdrew back into the office.
  • Officers continued to issue verbal commands to Mr. O’Bannon, who failed to comply with their directives.
  • At this time, Officers in the lobby deployed OC spray (which stands for “oleoresin capsicum,” a pepper extraction that is also commonly referred to as pepper spray), and an Extended Range Impact Weapon (or ERIW, commonly referred to as a “bean bag gun”) through the document opening in the plexiglass window. One Officer from the rear office also discharged a bean bag gun. Note: ERIW and OC spray were deployed by Officers during this time period. The exact chronology of when the specific uses of force occurred is under investigation.
  • Mr. O’Bannon again approached the open rear office door, retrieved an object later determined to be a screwdriver, and brandished it in a backhanded grip.
  • Officers observed the object in Mr. O’Bannon’s hand and announced: “He’s got a knife!” and “He’s got the screwdriver.”
  • Mr. O’Bannon exited the office, while still appearing to hold the object in his right hand.
  • Officers in the back room then ran out of an exit door onto the sidewalk as Mr. O’Bannon pursued them through the kitchen area of the outer office, still brandishing the object in his right hand.
  • As Officers exited onto the sidewalk, one of the exiting Officers tripped and fell onto his stomach.
  • The Officer quickly stood and began running from Mr. O’Bannon, who continued to pursue directly behind him.
  • Mr. O’Bannon reached out toward the Officer while pursuing him.
  • The Officer then discharged his firearm while backing up and falling to the ground. Mr. O’Bannon spun his body and began running from the area. Preliminary analysis of the BWC video appears to show that the Officer discharged his firearm three times.
  • Mr. O’Bannon fled on foot southbound on Jones Street, then eastbound on Ellis Street, as Officers pursued on foot.
  • Mr. O’Bannon then ran into Glide Memorial Church.
  • Mr. O’Bannon ran through the building lobby where he stopped, turned and faced pursuing Officers while brandishing a screwdriver.
  • Officers provided repeated verbal commands for Mr. O’Bannon to “get on the ground.”
  • One Officer deployed an ERIW (Bean Bag Gun) as Mr. O’Bannon faced the Officers while brandishing the screwdriver.
  • Mr. O’Bannon then turned and ran through an open stairwell door, running to the basement. The door closed and locked behind Mr. O’Bannon, preventing the Officers from pursuing down the stairway.
  • Officers attempted to descend a separate stairway a short time later. At this time, Mr. O’Bannon discharged a fire extinguisher as Officers approached, causing them to withdraw to the ground floor.
  • Mr. O’Bannon then barricaded himself in the basement and armed himself with two kitchen knives.
  • Officers subsequently established a perimeter around Glide Memorial Church, evacuated the building, and began speaking with Mr. O’Bannon down the stairwell.
  • The SFPD Crisis Hostage Negotiations Team (CHNT) arrived on scene and continued to negotiate the peaceful surrender of Mr. O’Bannon for approximately 11 hours. During this time period, Mr. O’Bannon made statements that expressed his intention to be killed by Officers.
  • SFPD Tactical Officers planned and performed the rescue of an employee who was sheltered in a basement room adjacent to where Mr. O’Bannon was located.
  • SFPD Officers made contact with the family of Mr. O’Bannon, who responded to the scene and provided assistance during the incident.
  • Near the end of the standoff, Mr. O’Bannon ceased communicating with Crisis and Hostage Negotiation Team members.
  • SFPD Tactical Unit Officers then entered the basement to locate Mr. O’Bannon, where they utilized less-lethal options to assist in taking Mr. O’Bannon into custody.
  • Once in custody, Mr. O’Bannon was transported to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFGH) for treatment.

Additional Information: 

  • It was determined that Mr. O’Bannon was not struck by gunfire.
  • Mr. O’Bannon was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at ZSFGH, where he was hospitalized for pre-existing medical conditions unrelated to this incident.


  • Evidence was located at the incident scene of the OIS, and at Glide Memorial Church.
  • Evidence recovered included a wooden board with what appeared to have blood on it, two fire extinguishers, a screwdriver, and several large kitchen knives.
  • The firearm of the discharging Officer was determined to have a dried red substance on its frame and slide. DNA analysis is pending to determine the origin of this substance.


  • Video was recovered from multiple sources, including:

     o Approximately 180 BWC videos

     o 10+ privately owned surveillance camera videos

     o Additional video is being sought by investigators.

Audio/Video Presentation: 

Use this link to view the presentation:


  • Witnesses to the Officer-Involved Shooting have been interviewed.
  • Independent witnesses to the preliminary crimes were located and have also been interviewed.
  • Additional witnesses are being sought by investigators.


  • The San Francisco District Attorney’s office filed charges against Mr. O’Bannon on April 23, 2020. The charges consisted of:

o 245(a)(1) PC – Assault with a Deadly Weapon

o 245(a)(4) PC – Assault likely to result in Great Bodily Injury

o 12022.7(a) PC – Sentencing Enhancement

o 1203(e)(4) PC – Sentencing Enhancement

  • Additional charges may be forthcoming

Involved Members:

  • The member involved in this officer involved shooting is Officer Jordan Townsend #257. Officer Townsend, a 4-year veteran of the SFPD, is assigned to the Field Operations Bureau. 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 and the San Francisco Police Department Investigative Services Detail are conducting an investigation into the incident.
  • The SFPD Internal Affairs Division is conducting an administrative investigation.
  • Investigators are in the process of determining if any other related incidents occurred in this area prior to the Officer-Involved Shooting.
  • Mr. O’Bannon is currently under investigation for four (4) burglary and vandalism incidents that occurred in the morning hours of Tuesday, April 21, 2020, prior to the incident on the 500 block of Jones Street.

Chief's Notes for Presentations: 

  • The notes used by Chief Scott in the town hall meeting can be viewed here.



News Release