San Francisco officer dragged, suspect held after wild chase

Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Staff Writer

Copyright 2006 The Chronicle Publishing Co.
All Rights Reserved 

A San Francisco police officer underwent surgery Saturday after he was dragged by a suspect's car following a double shooting in the Mission District that led to a wild chase across much of the city, authorities said.

Police arrested a 23-year-old San Francisco man on suspicion of attempted murder of the police officer and almost 20 other alleged crimes.

"This was a pretty major incident," said police Sgt. Neville Gittens.

The injured officer was identified as Craig Leong, a five-year veteran of the department who works at the Southern Station, said Officer Terrye Ivy. He had surgery Saturday afternoon for major leg injuries, Gittens said. The injuries are not life-threatening.

Investigators do not yet know what led to the shooting of two 17-year-old boys from the East Bay, who were taken to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Officers patrolling in the Mission heard gunshots just after midnight and, as they drove toward the area, saw a fast-moving Honda driving away, Gittens said.

Officers followed the vehicle but lost track of it in the South of Market neighborhood. Other officers found the car and pursued. The suspect's vehicle -- which police say was stolen -- spun out and crashed into a parked car near Fourth and Bryant streets, and Leong, who thought the car was inoperable, tried to pull the driver out.

But the driver started the Honda and began driving away as the officer, who may have been tangled in the car, held on, Gittens said. The driver tried to scrape off the officer on a parked car and then a concrete barrier but the officer let go before hitting the barrier, Gittens said.

The suspect drove toward the Tenderloin neighborhood, hitting at least five other vehicles, and crashed into a police cruiser, Gittens said. He drove away, and police followed until he again crashed into parked cars at Pacific Avenue and Webster Street in Pacific Heights, where police finally apprehended him. During the pursuit, police recovered a gun they say may have been used in the initial shooting.

The suspect, Alfonso Sandoval, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He has convictions for theft and, along with attempted murder, was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and other crimes stemming from the incident.

He was not arrested in connection with the shooting, Gittens said. 
January 15, 2006

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