A person who drove a vehicle into the Chinese consulate in San Francisco on Monday died after a confrontation with police in the consulate’s lobby, according to authorities.
The incident occurred around 3:09 p.m. PT when the individual crashed his vehicle into the lobby of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, which is primarily responsible for visa services, explained Sgt. Kathryn Winters, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department.
They responded promptly to the scene and within minutes of the crash, officers confronted the driver and eventually resorted to the use of deadly force. The driver was subsequently taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The exact number of people present at the consulate during the incident remains unclear; however, Sgt. Winters confirmed that no one else appeared to be injured.
At a press conference held Monday night, Sgt. Winters declined to say why police used deadly force or whether the deceased individual was armed. She did not provide any other details about the driver or the incident itself.
A spokesman for the Consulate General of China in San Francisco issued a statement expressing concern over the extensive damage to the building as a result of the crash, which put people at risk of serious injury or death. The statement strongly condemned the incident and called for a prompt and thorough investigation conducted in accordance with the law.
Witness Sergii Molchanov captured videos of the chaotic scene, showing individuals fleeing around a blue car that crashed into a wall inside the consulate, leaving debris strewn in its wake.
Describing his experience, Molkhanov stated: “I was inside, waiting for my turn to submit my visa documents, and suddenly a car burst through the main door at full speed and hit the wall, just 2 meters from where I was sitting . He added that the driver got out of the vehicle shouting, “Where’s the CCP?”—an apparent reference to the Chinese Communist Party—and subsequently engaged in a physical altercation with security. According to Molchanov, the police arrived and he heard two gunshots.
San Francisco police, in coordination with US State Department officials, are cooperating in the investigation of the incident with the Chinese consulate.
The consulate is located in the Japantown area of San Francisco, a few blocks northeast of The Painted Ladies, the famous row of colorful Victorian houses that serve as a popular attraction in the city.
Sgt. Winters noted that identifying the lead agency for the investigation presents a unique challenge given the incident, which occurred inside the lobby of the Chinese consulate, involving multiple agencies and jurisdictions. As a result, this case deviates from the typical officer-involved shooting investigation.