Driver who crashed into Chinese consulate in San Francisco tried to stab a responding officer before being fatally shot, police say

By Veronica Miracle and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

(CNN) — The driver who crashed a blue Honda sedan into the Chinese consulate in San Francisco last week was armed with a knife and had a loaded crossbow in his car before he was shot and killed by police, authorities said Thursday.

Zhanyuan Yang, 31, rammed into the lobby area of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China on October 9 just after 3 p.m. local time, San Francisco Police said last week. At the time, police said there were no other injuries.

On Thursday, the San Francisco Police Department held a town hall where it addressed details about how the attack on the consulate unfolded. Officials played 911 calls and body camera footage of responding police officers.

One video shows an officer arriving at the scene and running into a building inside of which appears a blue sedan has crashed. As the officer makes his way farther into the building, the camera moves closer to a man dressed in a blue T-shirt and pants while covering his face. Eventually, the man is pushed against a wall, as a voice is heard asking him if he’s armed with a gun. Seconds later, an officer fires his gun at the man, who then collapses onto the floor.

“As the sergeant and the security guard pinned Mr. Yang from behind against the wall, Mr. Yang rotated toward the sergeant and the security guard and exposed the knife in his right hand,” San Francisco Police Acting Cmdr. Mark Im said at the town hall meeting.

“Mr. Yang made multiple, rapid downward swinging motions with the knife towards the direction of the sergeant and security guard,” Im added.

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Before officers arrived on the scene, consulate security guards used pepper spray on Yang, police said.

Police collected a loaded CenterPoint crossbow and arrows from the scene, they said. Released evidence photos show the crossbow and arrows in the back seat of the crashed car, though a motive remains unclear.

According to released 911 calls, witnesses said there were roughly 30 people in the lobby when a car crashed into the consulate building. One caller told a dispatcher the driver intentionally crashed into the building. A witness video also shows more than a dozen people fleeing the building as security guards try to subdue Yang as he stood next to his crashed car in the lobby.

The details emerged after police had declined to say why they opened fire at the scene or whether the driver was armed. Police last week also didn’t say whether the crash was deliberate.

Videos recorded by witness Sergii Molchanov show people running past a blue car smashed against a wall inside the consulate, which is scattered with debris. Molchanov said last week he was waiting to submit visa documents when the car crashed into the building through the main door and into a wall just feet away from where he was sitting.

According to Molchanov, the driver exited the car shouting, “Where is CCP?” – an apparent reference to the Chinese Communist Party. The driver then started to fight with security guards, he said.

“Terrified visitors, including myself, ran and then police arrived,” Molchanov added, noting he heard two gunshots.

Last week, the Consulate General of China in San Francisco said in a statement the crash caused “serious damage” and put people in a life-threatening situation. The consulate also called for an investigation to be “carried out expeditiously and dealt with seriously in accordance with the law.”

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San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said multiple search warrants have been served, and evidence has been seized from Yang’s apartment, adding they cannot release a motive at this time.

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CNN’s Taylor Romine and Christal Hayes contributed to this report.

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