The San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office has identified a man who was fatally shot by police Wednesday for stabbing a Subway employee as 26-year-old Nicholas Flusche from Texas. It's unknown what Flusche was doing in San Francisco.
According to SFPD Police Chief Bill Scott, two SFPD beat officers came across Flusche stabbing another man around 11:22 a.m. on the 900 block of Market. The officers intervened, and at least one officer shot Flusche, Scott said. The victim was transported to a hospital and is receiving treatment for non life-threatening injuries, police said. "Despite the initiation of life-saving efforts, the second suspect is now deceased," Scott said.
Cellphone video of the aftermath of the stabbing shows SFPD officers surrounding a man who was sitting down on the sidewalk near a Subway restaurant. The man looked like he had suffered injuries to his face and was bleeding. NBC Bay Area has not been able to confirm whether he was the victim.
San Francisco police confirmed that the man who was stabbed worked at Subway. Sources told NBC Bay Area that Flusche walked into the Subway restaurant and asked the employee to make him a sandwich, but refused to pay for it, at which point the employee told him: "No money, no sandwich." The suspect then pulled out his knife, and started attacking him, sources said.
One man who was caught in the middle of the stabbing described the scene. Kevin Ramsey says it all happened so fast.
"I see this guy behind the counter just stabbing the clerk, so he needed help, and I helped him," Ramsey said. "He was covered in blood head to toe. I grabbed his arm and held it, and we fought for (the knife) till the cops came in the door to do with they had to."
Ramsey said the police arrived just moments after he did.
"The cops came in and told us all to get down, and he wasn't complying, so I'm not gonna get down," Ramsey said. "So I pushed him away from me and got out of the way, and he came after the cop, and the cop did what he had to do and shot one time."
The shooting is currently under investigation by the SFPD Homicide and Internal Affairs division, the San Francisco Department of Police Accountability, the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office and the SF attorney's office.
Scott did not disclose any more details about the case, citing the ongoing investigation. "Everything is very preliminary, witnesses have to be interviewed, evidence has to be gathered," he said. "It's going to be a very long process and a very thorough process."
But sources confirmed that a homeless-looking Caucasian man in his 30s refused to pay for the sandwich he'd ordered. When he didn't get it, he grabbed a knife and started stabbing the much older Asian employee.
Multiple people who work in the area also reported a shooting in the area on Twitter.
When asked by reporters if the shooting could have been avoided, Scott said police have "an obligation to protect the public."
Wednesday's officer-involved shooting is the first police shooting under Scott, who was hired following a push for police reform in San Francisco.
"Loss of life is tragic, doesn't matter how it happens, it's tragic," Scott said. "These things, we try to avoid them as much as we can, but we have an obligation to protect the public."
Sources told NBC Bay Area that when police officers told Flusche to drop his knife, the suspect continued to stab the person, prompting the officer to open fire.
The San Francisco Police Department said on Twitter around 11:36 a.m. that people should avoid the area of 900 Market Street due to police activity and street closures. Muni trains and buses were also rerouted. The section was reopened several hours later, around 5:40 p.m.
NBC Bay Area's Riya Bhattacharjee, Terry McSweeney, Jaxon Van Derbeken and Christie Smith contributed to this report.