SAN FRANCISCO -- An ambush outside a Chinatown nightclub that left one person dead and six wounded, including a pregnant woman, apparently was an Asian gang-related attack to avenge a deadly shooting last month, police said.
Officers said they were looking for at least two suspects who sped off in a car after firing more than 25 shots at a group of 10 to 12 people getting into two cars outside the Purple Onion early Monday.
'We are very fortunate we don't have about eight people killed, because the first shooter was right on top of the car,' Inspector Jim Crowley said.
The victims were leaving the nightclub at the edge of Chinatown at 1:50 a.m.
'The club had closed and they decided to go get somethig to eat,' said Homicide Inspector Art Gerrans. 'But when they got to their two separate cars, they were ambushed. Obviously, somebody was out to get them.'
Police said the people were getting into two cars parked about a block apart when the gunmen appeared. They walked around the vehicles firing at close range from what police believe were a machine pistol and a semi-automatic pistol.
'There were shell casings all over the street,' Gerrans said. 'They shot up both cars.'
The victims and the attackers were Asian, possibly members of feuding gangs made up of Chinese and Vietnamese, Inspector Art Gerrans said. The gangs involved appear to be the Wah Ching and an offshoot of the Hop Sing Flying Dragons, Gerrans said.
'Whether it was over money or turf, we don't know yet,' he said.
Gerrans said the ambush was to avenge an April 7 shooting at another nightclub in which Dan Phat Vong, believed a member of the Wah Ching gang, was slain. That killing may have grown from an earlier fistfight.
The dead man was identified as Michael Wu, 37, of San Francisco, described by an acquaintance as a former pit boss at the King Midas card room in nearby Emeryville where the high-stakes game of pai gow is played. Stakes in the fast-moving dominoes-like game often reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. The game is illegal in San Francisco but legal in Emeryville.
One of the wounded was Margaret Lee, 26, who was four months pregnant and also a former pai gow pit boss at the King Midas. The bullet pierced Lee's uterus and lodged in her stomach, narrowly missing her unborn baby. She was listed in serious condition and in intensive care at San Francisco General Hospital.
Raymond Lee, 40, was wounded in the thigh and arms. Tony Pon, 49, was struck by five bullets in face, arm, legs and thigh. Mitchell Troung, 22, suffered wounds in his thighs.
Lee, Pon and Troung were admitted to the hospital but their wounds were not considered serious. John T. San, 31, and Cau Traun, 22, were treated and released.