San Francisco News

Man found with cache of weapons in car had list of politicians

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

San Francisco police explained Wednesday why they failed to search the car of a homeless man after he admitted having a shotgun and a rifle. They confiscated those two weapons, and only later found an arsenal that included 5,800 rounds of ammunition.

Inside Robert Johns' car near San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, one day after the Colorado theater shooting, police found weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition and survivalist gear. Police Chief Greg Suhr described the find as "substantial."

Yet, police admitted they had the chance to search Johns' car in late June when they first confronted him. At that time he voluntarily gave them only two weapons. The homeless man was also rambling and making threats.

"He made other statements regarding the fact that he might want to harm his family, so the decision was made that he would be bound over for a mental evaluation at General Hospital and officers took him there," said Suhr.

Police never searched his car even though they had probable cause. "His car was not towed at that time," said Lt. Alexa O'Brien. "We didn't do a tow inventory search of the vehicle."

"I believe that if the officers had taken this as a criminal case in the beginning, they wouldn't have been wrong to do so and that search of the vehicle would have been lawful," said Suhr.

Police eventually did on July 22 after Johns was released from General Hospital and began harassing neighbors near Golden Gate Park.

Neighbor Mark Lambors says Johns' car was parked near his house for weeks. "So it fed the homeless situation here that was just this massive homeless thing going on for about four weeks," said neighbor Mark Lambors.

The district attorney's complaint also states that Johns imported one of the guns into California and planned to sell it.

Police also revealed that names of national politicians were found inside the car. The FBI confirmed it is assisting SFPD in the investigation.

Suhr stands behind the decision made by his officers. "And now we have all the weapons and nobody was harmed."

Neighbors told ABC7 that they were concerned about another man who hung out with Johns. Police said Wednesday afternoon that they have arrested that second man on unrelated charges, but would not elaborate further.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
colorado theater shooting, homeless, san francisco news, lyanne melendez
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