Police on Wednesday said a San Francisco man lost his life after his sleeping bag was set on flames while he was in the Mission District early Saturday.
Officials said that the victim woke up to find his sleeping bag burning. While his name was not released, the 43-year-old was sleeping at the corner of 25th Street and South Van Ness Avenue on Friday when the incident happened.
The report of an aggravated assault with fire was responded upon by the San Francisco Police Department on Saturday at 5 a.m.
The man was rushed to a local hospital after he suffered from wounds to his lower extremities but died the following day.
Investigation on the incident, which the San Francisco Office of the Chief Medical Examiner called a homicide, is ongoing.
The homicide represents the perils homeless people face in the city streets.
The violent acts against San Francisco’s vulnerable people are tragic, according to SFPD spokesperson Robert Rueca.
“We know they are a vulnerable community,” Rueca said. “And the city is doing all they can to address not only the violence, [but also] provide people in the community the resources they need to improve the situation.”
There are also robbery incidents victimizing sleeping people in the streets.
“Obviously with theft, that’s a different picture for someone who has all their belongings with them, for someone who doesn’t have a lot to begin with,” Rueca said. “It’s that much more threatening to their ability to continue.”
The said incident was “really tragic”, said Coalition on Homelessness director Jennifer Friedenbach, adding that it could have never happened if the victim had a roof on his head, SFGATE reported.
“When an individual does not have a door to lock, they exist at the mercy of those around them, and are easy targets for violence – violence that often occurs when they are sleeping, violence that often goes unreported,” she said in a statement. “Adding to that lack of safety a home provides, far too often unhoused people experience hate based attacks as members of a class of people who are scapegoated, typecast and vilified for their impoverished status. Policy makers in SF sadly have for decades tapped into the fear many people feel around homelessness and use homeless people as a political wedge, furthering the dehumanization process and driving up violence against them. ”