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mayor considers canceling Halloween party

San Francisco
mayor considers canceling Halloween party

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San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that he is considering canceling the Castro district's annual Halloween festivities in the future after a shooting at this year's event wounded nine people and left another person injured in the ensuing panic.

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that he is considering canceling the Castro district's annual Halloween festivities in the future after a shooting at this year's event wounded nine people and left another person injured in the ensuing panic. Gunfire broke out late Tuesday during the massive street party after a bottle was thrown during a confrontation involving two groups of young people, police said. ''Thank God no one was killed,'' Newsom said. ''That probably would have ended the event immediately, and that does not mean we will not consider shutting this event down in the future.'' Eight of the 10 people injured were treated at hospitals and released, said police sergeant Neville Gittens. Two others were hospitalized, one with a head injury and the other with a gunshot wound to the knee. None of the injuries were life-threatening, Gittens said. About 30 people between the ages of 15 and 25 were involved in the confrontation that led to the shooting, police said. Authorities detained and questioned one person Tuesday night but have made no arrests. City officials had made a visible effort this year to ramp up security at the annual Halloween event, which has been marred by violence in the past. Plans were in place to cut off the festivities at 11 p.m., and at least 500 police officers patrolled the streets. More than 100 sheriff's deputies were also posted at entrances to confiscate alcohol and weapons. Deputies discarded toy swords, real knives, and a six-foot wooden cross being dragged by a man dressed as Jesus, according to San Francisco County sheriff Michael Hennessey. But screening people for metal objects or searching them for weapons would have been ''impractical'' with such a large crowd, he said. ''If people had a small weapon underneath their costume, we wouldn't have seen that.'' The once-spontaneous and unsanctioned party was taken over by the city four years ago after police recorded five stabbings and a number of assaults among a crowd of 500,000 people at the 2002 event. Officials and members of the district's large gay community said the party had started attracting gay bashers along with the usual colorfully costumed characters. (Marcus Wohlsen, AP)

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