July 26, 2006
A San Francisco police officer was killed early this morning, Wednesday, July 26, after the suspect vehicle, a stolen van, collided with the officer's patrol car at Cambridge and Felton streets. In this incident, police had received a call from the victim of a robbery who had just gotten off work on the 500 block of Bayshore Boulevard. The victim accompanied the responding officers in a search of the area to look for the suspects and vehicle. Officers located the suspect vehicle and observed that the license plate matched that of a robbery vehicle that had been broadcast earlier. As officers approached, the suspect drove off.
Officers initiated a pursuit, which continued onto Highway 280 to South San Francisco, then proceeded back to San Francisco. At about 1:00 A.M., as the pursuit continued, the van was heading northbound on Cambridge Street where it ran a stop sign and collided with a patrol car traveling eastbound on Felton, causing the patrol car to strike a power pole on the corner before landing on its right side, while the suspect vehicle crashed into a residence. The officer driving the patrol car was not involved with the original pursuit but had responded to assist the other officers looking for the suspect. The officer, Nick-Tomasito Birco, 39, was later pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital. Officer Birco had been with the Department for five years and was assigned to Bayview Station.
During his brief career, Officer Birco was awarded a Police Commission Commendation in December 2002 for his bravery in executing a search warrant on a man whose residence contained numerous firearms and rounds of ammunition. He had also been awarded 11 Captain Complimentary awards, and had received two letters from citizens impressed with his level of service and professionalism.
Four suspects, three males and one female, have been detained pending further investigation.
Further information will be provided in another press release later today.
850 Bryant Street, Room 549, San Francisco, CA. 94103