In a shocking incident that rattled San Francisco on Monday, a 31-year-old man, identified as Zhanyuan Yang, drove his vehicle recklessly into the Chinese consulate, compelling the police to confront him on site. The culmination of this confrontation was fatal, as the man in question was shot and succumbed to his injuries shortly after at a local hospital.
The incident occurred around 3:09 p.m. PT in the lobby area of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, an office responsible for handling visas. Despite the gravity of the incident, it remains unclear how many individuals were present at the site when the crash ensued. Thankfully, however, no other injuries were reported.
Hours later, at a press conference, San Francisco Police spokesperson Sgt. Kathryn Winters held back from explicating whether the vehicle crash was intentional nor did she reveal if the deceased was armed during the confrontation with the law enforcement. This reticence extended also to the reasons behind the police’s decision to open fire.
Echoing the seriousness of the turmoil and its subsequent repercussions, a spokesperson for the Chinese Consulate went on record to insist that the destruction was significant enough to pose a ‘serious threat’ to people’s lives. An official statement by the consulate vehemently condemned the incident, in addition to calling for a thorough, serious, and expedient investigation in line with the law.
Eyewitness accounts of the incident highlighted the chaotic scenes that unfurled at the consulate following the crash. Sergii Molchanov, one of the witnesses who managed to capture the events on video, recounted a scenario of terrified visitors, including himself, rushing past a blue car lodged into the consulate’s wall, surrounded by a mess of debris.
Molchanov further recalled the driver stepping out of the vehicle and aggressively shouting, “Where is CCP?” thereby indicating a potential link to the Chinese Communist Party. He also mentioned a physical altercation that ensued between the driver and the security staff prior to the arrival of the police, post which he heard two gunshots.
Currently, the San Francisco Police along with the US State Department officials are working collaboratively with the Chinese consulate.
Navigating this situation has proven to be a unique challenge due to its occurrence within the premises of the Chinese consulate, said Winters, necessitating the interaction and involvement of various agencies and jurisdictions, and making it diverge significantly from the protocol adhered to in responses to traditional officer-involved shootings.
Located in the city’s Japantown area, a few blocks northeast from the tourist attraction ‘The Painted Ladies’, the Chinese consulate continues to reel from the shocking events waiting for clarity to emerge as investigations take their course.