Police yet to disclose motive in SF jewelry store killing

July 12, 2013: A police officer carries weapons down Eighth Street toward the scene of a shooting in San Francisco.

July 12, 2013: A police officer carries weapons down Eighth Street toward the scene of a shooting in San Francisco.  (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)

A bloodied gunman suspected of killing two women and seriously wounding a man inside a jewelry store at a popular San Francisco shopping center is in custody, but police have yet to release a motive.

Officers encountered the suspect Friday outside the San Francisco Giftcenter & Jewelrymart in the trendy South of Market area. Initially, the officers were not sure if the man, who had blood on his clothes, was a shooting victim or a suspect, police Chief Greg Suhr said.

The man, whose name was not released, then opened fire at officers while retreating into a restaurant, Suhr said.

"The suspect fired additional multiple rounds at the officers and then, we believe, ran out of ammunition, threw the gun on the ground and surrendered," Suhr said.

Officers did not return fire because the sidewalks were crowded with shoppers and residents, police said.

Inside the shopping center, officers found two women dead and a man injured with gunshot and stab wounds at the Victoga jewelry shop. One woman was shot and the other suffered "wounds from an edged weapon," police said.

A gun and a knife were recovered from the scene.

Witnesses say the women were employees and the man is the shop's owner. Their names have not been released.

The suspect was taken to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

SWAT teams and K-9 units swept the building for any additional suspects.

"We believe from video in an adjacent store that there was one suspect. We believe that it is the suspect we have in custody," Suhr said.

Police were unsure of the relationship between the suspect and the victims, Suhr said, even though he had previously been seen in the building, according to witnesses. Investigators were also trying to determine if Friday's shooting was connected to a botched robbery.

The shopping center is just blocks from the Hall of Justice, which is the home of San Francisco Superior Court, a jail and police headquarters. Several tech companies, including online game maker Zynga, are also in the neighborhood.

Witnesses and bystanders ran for cover when the shooting began.

"I had just parked when I heard the bullets go `Pop! Pop! Pop!"' said Connie Angland of Los Angeles, who was walking toward a nearby REI to buy a present for father's 70th birthday. "It was scary."