Police fatally shoot driver who crashed into Chinese Consulate in San Francisco
By Livia Albeck-Rioka and Alexandra Stevenson
Police fatally shot a driver who crashed into the visa office at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco on Monday afternoon, the San Francisco Police Department said.
Officers responded to a crash near Geary Boulevard and Laguna Street about 3 p.m., where they “found that the vehicle had come to rest in the lobby of the Chinese Consulate,” according to a statement from the Police Department.
The shooting took place after the officers made contact with the suspect, police said. Officers and paramedics who arrived at the scene rendered aid before transporting the suspect to a nearby hospital, where the person died, police said.
Images circulating on social media showed part of the consulate building covered with a white tarp and cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape. Another video posted to social media appeared to show people running from the building, where the car, a blue Honda, remained.
The investigation into the episode is continuing, and authorities have not released the name of the suspect. The Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco said in a statement that the driver had crashed into an area where consular documents are handled, “posing a serious threat to the life and safety of staff and people on site.”
“Our embassy severely condemns this violent attack and reserves the right to pursue responsibilities related to the incident,” the consulate said.
The episode occurred weeks before San Francisco is to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, where diplomats are hoping that China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, will meet with President Joe Biden. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the majority leader, is in China this week leading a bipartisan congressional delegation that is meeting with top leaders.
Schumer met with Xi on Monday and said he hoped for a “peaceful coexistence” with the United States. The Biden administration has been trying in recent months to stabilize its relationship with Beijing amid rising geopolitical tensions over the status of Taiwan, which China considers a part of its territory, and trade between the two countries.
On Chinese social media, people responded to the news with shock and anger. News of the accident was the most popular topic on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, and discussions about it garnered nearly 100 million views.