Ex-San Francisco Firefighter Describes Brutal Attack by Colleague

June 15, 2024
The victim, who was beaten with a spanner wrench, wonders how his assailant still has his job, and he doesn't

A San Francisco firefighter recovering from a brutal beating from a colleague wonders how his assailant is still on the job and he isn't.

Gabriel Shin, who was hit in the head with a hydrant wrench about a dozen times and broke his arms as he tired to shield the blows. said the injuries ended his beloved career.

Although Robert Mohammad was charged with felony assault, he remains with the fire department, according to ABC 7.

Discussing the assault for the first time this week, Shin told a reporter that he and fellow firefighters reached out with offers to help Mohammad after his family suffered a crisis. 

"People offered to cook for him, people offered to work his shifts for free and he rebuffed my offers. But I've never had a conflict with him prior to this."

Six months after that family crisis, Muhammad called to ask who in the firehouse was talking about his private business.

Court records show that two days after that phone call, Muhammad used a computer at Station 25 to retrieve Shin's work schedule and his home address. He grabbed a spanner wrench and drove to Shin's Oakland home.

Shin was sweeping his sidewalk. 

"I heard somebody say, 'Are you going to tell me, are you going to tell me who told you?'" Shin said. "And I turned around and I said, 'Robert, what are you doing here?' He said, 'Who are you protecting?' I said, 'I forgot.'  And then he reached into his back pocket. He pulled out the large brass spanner, and he started swinging at my head."

A witness called 9-1-1.

The attack stopped only after a neighbor pulled a handgun and confronted Muhammad.

"And then he slowly dropped the spanner and looked backwards and walked away towards his car, which is approximately a block-and-a-half away."

What happened next still surprises and angers Shin who suffered a concussion as well as the fractures. 

"The first person called me and said, 'Is there any way we can work this out?' The second person called me and said, 'You can't charge him. You know, you've got to drop the charges. That man's got a family.' And of course, I was angry. I said, 'You know, he just tried to kill me.'"

Shin has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit that asks a basic question. Why was the victim forced out of the San Francisco Fire Department and the suspect still works there?

"They treated Shin with startling prejudice and Muhammad with baffling favor from the outset because they saw one difference: Shin is Asian and Muhammad is Black," according to the suit.

In their answer, the defendants deny each and every allegation.

"They took away his health insurance before he could even recover from those injuries..."

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