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SF Police: Death of homeless man whose tent was set on fire classified as homicide

He has been identified as 43-year-old Luis Temaj, per San Francisco police
San Francisco Police Department headquarters at 1245 Third St. on July 24, 2021

Update on Wednesday's story.


A homeless man who died after his sleeping bag was set on fire last week in San Francisco's Mission District has been identified and his death has been classified as a homicide. 

Luis Temaj,43, died at the hospital one day after police said the man on Oct. 8 woke up to his sleeping bag on fire near the corner of South Van Ness and 25th Street. According to the city officials, the 43-year-old suffered injuries to his lower body.  No arrests have been made, investigators said. 

On Thursday, the Coalition on Homelessness San Francisco said the organization was saddened by Temaj's murder but said unprovoked attacks against homeless people are unfortunately not rare.

"These incidents of hate against disproportionately black, brown and queer unhoused community members are far too common," COHSF officials said. "The sad fact is that this tragedy might have been prevented if the individual had a home. When one does not have a door to lock, they exist at the mercy of those around them, and are easy targets for violence -- violence that often occurs when they are sleeping, violence that often goes unreported."

According to COHSF officials, in a separate incident back in July, an assailant tried to burn an occupied tent near the corner of Florida and 20th streets, just blocks away from where Temaj's sleeping bag was set ablaze.

"How we treat and talk about the unhoused community matters -- as the soul of San Francisco hangs in the balance. This painful death should remind all of us in SF to push forward the enduring work to ensure all the people of our city have a safe and decent place to call home," COHSF officials said.


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A 43-year-old man died after his sleeping bag was set on fire in San Francisco's Mission District last week, police said Wednesday.

The man, whose name has not been released, died Saturday following a case that officers had responded to at about 5 a.m. Friday in the area of South Van Ness Avenue and 25th Street.

The victim told officers he was asleep in a sleeping bag when he woke up to it being on fire. He suffered injuries to his lower extremities and was taken to a hospital, where he died the next day.

The Police Department is considering the case a homicide and is asking anyone with information to call its tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" at the start of the message.