San Francisco police have identified a man who died in police custody yesterday as Filimoni R. Raiyawa, 57, of Sonoma and his death is now under investigation.
Police say that Thursday morning at approximately 5:30 a.m. SFPD officers responded to a call regarding a vehicle collision which occurred on Richardson Drive at Francisco Street. The driver of a BMW was stopped at a red light, facing eastbound on Richardson when a minivan collided with the rear end of the BMW. The force of the impact sent the BMW through the intersection where it, and the minivan, collided with several parked cars.
The driver of the BMW walked up to the minivan where he attempted to check on the wellbeing of the other driver. The driver of the minivan, later identified as Raiyawa, got out of the minivan and began speaking incoherently to the BMW driver.
Raiyawa’s behavior and because he stood six-feet tall and weighed 265 pounds caused the driver of the BMW to fear for his safety, so he moved away from Raiyawa and called 9-1-1 to report the collision. Then he followed Raiyawa for approximately one block before returning to the scene of the collision.
While officers were en-route, they received the suspect description and direction of escape from the collision scene. Officers located Raiyawa at Pierce and Lombard streets, concluded that he matched the hit and run suspect description and attempted to detain him.
As one officer approached, Raiyawa punched her numerous times about the head and upper body. A second officer attempted to control Raiyawa but he threw her to the ground. Police say the confrontation between the suspect and officers was so violent that it knocked over a section of cyclone construction fencing surrounding a dirt lot.
Raiyawa continued eastbound on Lombard St. where he attempted to enter an all-night restaurant but the restaurant manager refused to open the door. Raiyawa continued up the sidewalk, where the officers re-contacted him in front of a hotel. When more officers arrived, Raiyawa was taken to the ground where he continued to resist the officers’ attempts to handcuff him.
Officers eventually handcuffed him and summoned an ambulance to the scene. While awaiting arrival of the ambulance, police say Raiyawa experienced a medical emergency. The officers began first aid and CPR until relieved by paramedics but Raiyawa was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.
The injured officers were transported to the hospital for treatment. One officer was treated for head injuries and a concussion. The second officer was treated for an injury to her hand and both officers have since been released from the hospital.
Investigators from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office later contacted San Francisco Police regarding an investigation from their jurisdiction. The suspect of their investigation was wanted in connection with the brutal bludgeoning of a 97 year old male who sustained life threatening injuries. He is not expected to survive.
The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Raiyawa’s identity and police say he was the suspect wanted in connection with the Sonoma County attempted homicide. The minivan involved in the Richardson Drive hit and run is the vehicle Raiyawa used to flee from the Sonoma County crime scene.
The San Francisco incident is an active and open investigation being conducted by the SFPD Homicide Detail and the Internal Affairs Unit, along with the SF District Attorney’s Office and the SF Medical Examiner’s office.