gay man's death
by Seth Hemmelgarn
San Francisco police are continuing their investigation into the recent killing of a gay man.
Steven "Eriq" Escalon, 28, was found dead around 6 p.m., June 12, in his home in the 5000 block of Diamond Heights Boulevard.
San Francisco homicide Inspector Scott Warnke said Tuesday, June 26 that there haven't been any arrests.
"The investigation is moving forward," he said.
A flier distributed by the San Francisco Police Department says investigators are seeking information on the identity of any person or persons seen in the area of 5000 Diamond Heights carrying a flat screen TV, at least one computer, or a game console, in the early to late afternoon of June 12. People are also asked to report "any suspicious individuals" seen around that time.
Warnke, who said neither the TV nor the other items have been located, said he couldn't comment on how Escalon appears to have died or whether there were signs of a struggle. The San Francisco Medical Examiner's office isn't likely to release details of its review of Escalon's death for several months.
Speculation that Escalon's killing was related to a hook up is being investigated, Warnke said.
"Apparently he went to a few clubs" the night before he died and took a cab home from the 400 block of Castro Street early that morning "and there's speculation he may have hooked up with somebody," he said.
Asked whether Escalon had gone home with one person and then hooked up with someone else, Warnke said, "Anything is possible at this time."
He said police have received suggestions, "a lot [of them] anonymously," that Escalon met someone online. He couldn't say whether the site was Adam4Adam or Grindr, both popular sites for making quick arrangements for sex.
Warnke said he couldn't comment on whether any semen or blood had been found at the scene of Escalon's death, or whether there were any weapons there.
He wasn't sure which clubs Escalon had visited. Roberto Tiscareno, a friend of Escalon's, said that Escalon had "really liked" Toad Hall, at 4146 18th Street, which is near the 400 block of Castro.
He said every time he saw Escalon out "we were at Toad Hall."
Skye Emerson, 28, who had known Escalon since the 10th grade and said that he identified as gay, lived with Escalon in Fresno until he moved to San Francisco in September.
Emerson said she couldn't see Escalon "ever being targeted" and spoke of her friend's fun, yet thoughtful, nature.
"You could really tell him anything, and he just accepted you," she said.
Escalon worked at Metamorphosis Salon on Market Street.
"He just had a way of making everyone feel really special," Emerson said. "It was perfect that he did hair, because he loved making people feel beautiful."
A call to the salon wasn't returned by press time.
Emerson said Escalon enjoyed going to clubs – "he was an excellent dancer," she said – but he "wasn't the kind of person who would just bring someone home."
The last time Emerson spoke with him was via text just before noon the day he died. They shared a joke, "then he told me he loved me," she said.
It was one of Escalon's two roommates who found him several hours later, she said.
Christina Saldivar, 33, of Fresno, Escalon's aunt, called her nephew's death "a very tragic loss."
"He wouldn't hurt anybody, so we don't know who would want to hurt him," Saldivar said. She added that he was happy in San Francisco, and "he never spoke of any problems with anybody."
Anyone with information in the case is asked to call homicide Inspectors Warnke, Jones, or Dedet at (415) 553-1145 (weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.); after hours at the department operations center, (415) 553-1071; or the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. The police report number is 120 463 273.
The Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, in which Escalon served in the color guard, have set up a scholarship in Escalon's name.
A Citi Bank account has been set up for Escalon's funeral arrangements. The account number is 42002248096.
A Facebook page honoring Escalon is at http://www.facebook.com/inmemoryoferiqescalon.