SAN FRANCISCO — A man who was wanted in connection with the attempted murder of a 97-year-old Sonoma County resident died Thursday morning after a brawl with San Francisco police officers, authorities said. The man has been identified as Filimoni R. Raiyawa, 57, of Sonoma County. His victim, Solomon Cohen later died in the hospital.
At approximately 5:30 a.m. police responded to a car accident on Francisco and Richardson Streets. According to police, a minivan rear-ended a BMW that was stopped at a red light. The force of the collision sent both cars through the intersection and into several parked cars. The driver of the BMW approached the minivan, attempting to check on the other driver. According to police, however, the driver of the minivan, a six foot, 265 pound man–later identified as Raiyawa–got out of the minivan and began speaking incoherently, scaring the owner of the BMW. As the driver of the BMW called police, Raiyawa began to walk away.
Officers then located Raiyawa at Pierce and Lombard Streets, and attempted to detain him. But when one of the officers approached, Raiyawa punched her numerous times on the head and upper body, police said. Police also said that Raiyawa threw another officer to the ground when she tried to control him. “The confrontation between the suspect and officers was so violent that it knocked over a section of cyclone construction fencing surrounding a dirt lot,” the San Francisco Police Department stated in a press release.
According to witness accounts reported by the San Francisco Examiner, police then started “beating on” and “whacking the [deleted] out of” Raiyawa. One witness, Willie Gunnari, who lives at Pierce and Lombard Street, told the Examiner that he saw officers telling the Raiyawa to get on the ground, but that he wasn’t listening. Gunnari also told the Examiner that he heard Raiyawa tell police to stop.
Somehow Raiyawa broke free from the scrum and tried to get into an I-HOP further east on the 2000 block of Lombard Street, police said, but the manager of the pancake house wouldn’t let Raiyawa in. Officers eventually caught up to Raiwaya in front of a nearby hotel and, using batons, took him to the ground. Once Raiyawa was handcuffed, and as an ambulance was in transit, Raiwaya had a “medical emergency.” Despite attempts by officers and paramedics to revive Raiyawa, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
San Francisco police later learned that Raiyawa was wanted in Sonoma County in connection with the “brutal bludgeoning” of a 97-year-old Solomon Cohen at his home near Occidental. Cohen died on Wednesday at 9:16 p.m., according to the Press Democrat. Raiyawa lived with Cohen as a caretaker, and reportedly ate breakfast with Cohen each morning for the past 8 years. According to police, Raiyawa fled the crime scene in the same blue Honda Odyssey he crashed before he died in his confrontation with the police.
An investigation into the in-custody death of Raiyawa is ongoing, police said.
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