S.F. rampage follows jostling; 4 dead, 1 in critical condition
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A residential hotel shooting rampage that left four people dead erupted after two residents literally bumped into each other in the lobby, according to police.
An argument broke out after the slight jostling incident, and one of the men involved later returned to the Dalt Hotel with a semiautomatic handgun and opened fire Saturday night, police said Sunday.
The gunman, identified as John Bravard, 53, killed three people and injured another before heading to his fourth-floor room, where he turned the gun on himself and committed suicide, authorities said.
The lone surviving victim, Joseph Garcia, 46, remained in critical condition at a local hospital Sunday, and will likely be paralyzed even if he recovers, police said. Authorities had yet to identify the other three victims.
Authorities said the 5 p.m. shooting followed a confrontation hours earlier in the lobby of the Dalt, which offers a cheap place to live for people in the city’s troubled Tenderloin District.
“An argument resulted after someone bumped into him,” said San Francisco Police Sgt. Neville Gittens. “The next thing we know, he started shooting.”
Hotel residents described Bravard as a man with a troubled personality and a quick temper.
“Big John heard voices,” said Garrett Jenkins, who lives one floor down from Bravard. “He tried to pick fights with me and everyone else all the time. … He was just a ticking time bomb. He just lost it today. He probably shot them just because they were there.”
The building manager said that so far as she knew, Bravard had no quarrel with at least two of his victims, but shot them anyway.
Residents said they heard shooting in the lobby of the hotel shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday, and quickly retreated to their rooms and locked themselves in. Dozens of police swarmed into the neighborhood, closing off nearby streets and eventually searching the hotel floor-by-floor.
Sometime after the shooting in the lobby, residents said they heard a single gunshot from Bravard’s room.
“When John killed himself, the floor bounced,” said John Landas, 48, who has lived at the hotel for 11 years and complained often about Bravard. “It almost knocked me off my feet.”
Suzanne O’Hara, 60, said she lived next to Bravard for many years before moving to another floor of the Dalt.
“He had a temper that would just explode without provocation,” O’Hara said. “He could be a gentle man when he wanted to be, but he could explode suddenly and you’d never know what happened.”