Police fatally shot a driver who crashed into a visa office at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Monday afternoon, the San Francisco Police Department said.
Officers responded to the crash near Geary Boulevard and Laguna Street around 3 p.m., where they “found the vehicle stopped in the lobby of the Chinese Consulate,” according to a statement from the San Francisco Police Department.
The shooting occurred after officers made contact with the suspect, police said. Police officers and paramedics who arrived at the scene treated the suspect before transporting him to a nearby hospital, where he died, police said.
Images circulating on social media show part of the consulate building covered with a white tarp and closed with yellow crime scene tape. Others video posted on social networks appeared to show people running from the building, where the car, a blue Honda, remained.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing, and authorities have not released the suspect’s name. The Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco said in a statement that the driver crashed into the area where consular documents are handled, “which poses a serious threat to the life and safety of staff and people on site.”
“Our embassy strongly condemns this violent attack and reserves the right to take responsibility for the incident,” the consulate said.
The episode comes weeks before San Francisco is set to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, where diplomats hope China’s top leader Xi Jinping will meet with President Biden. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, is in China this week at the head of a bipartisan congressional delegation meeting with top leaders.
Mr Schumer met Mr Xi on Monday and said he hoped for a “peaceful coexistence” with the United States. The Biden administration has been trying to stabilize its relationship with Beijing in recent months amid rising geopolitical tensions over the status of Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory, and trade between the two countries.
On Chinese social media, people reacted with shock and anger to the news. News of the accident was the most popular topic on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, with discussions about it garnering nearly 100 million views.
Zixu Wang contributed reporting.