Just after 4 a.m. under a starless sky, a man in a well-worn tweed coat and black knit cap crossed Broadway onto Front Street, humming a tune as he strolled south to Sydney G. Walton Square.
The square was a cozy one-block park, bounded by iron fencing with an artifact of a brick gate set at a diagonal on one corner. Inside were paths and seating and garden beds, cut back now at the end of the growing season.
During the day Walton Square was crowded with office workers from San Francisco’s Financial District, eating their take-out lunches near the fountain. At night the streets were empty and the park was occupied by homeless people going through the trash cans, sleeping on the benches, congregating near the gate.
The man in the shapeless tweed coat stopped outside the iron fencing and looked around the park and surroundings with purpose. He was still humming tunelessly and gripping a 9mm gun in his right-hand pocket.Continue Reading