Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Man who had outburst at Castro bar dies


Abel Marquez. Photo: Courtesy David Monroe
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A gay San Francisco man who had a violent outburst at a Castro district bar and suffered cardiac arrest has died after being on life support for almost two weeks.

Abel Marquez, 36, who reportedly had been drinking and using methamphetamine, had to be restrained by police after he broke a window and cut himself March 11 at Hecho Cantina, 2200 Market Street. He then became unresponsive and was taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where he was kept on life support until he died early Friday morning, March 24.

David Monroe, his stepfather, is attributing his death to a sedative that first responders reportedly gave Marquez as he was being restrained.

"He's the wealthiest man I've ever known," Monroe said, referring to Marquez's "hundreds and hundreds of friends."

"They're all devastated over this," he said. "None of them can believe it. He was such a wonderful guy. ... There's a big hole where he used to be in all of our hearts."

After Marquez died Friday morning, someone posted a message to a Facebook group honoring him that said, "As Abel would say Fuck It! Please do not use RIP when referring to him ... #fuckit." Almost 300 people belong to the group, which features numerous photos of Marquez smiling and surrounded by friends.

The medical examiner's office has confirmed that it has received Marquez's body, but the cause and manner of death had not been issued by Tuesday.

According to a summary from Sergeant Michael Andraychak, a San Francisco Police Department spokesman, witnesses said that at Hecho, Marquez had "grabbed the cue ball from a pool table," and "then struck the glass door, breaking it. He broke glass items on the bar, picked up a piece of glass, and cut himself on the wrist," Andraychak, who didn't confirm Marquez or Hecho's names, said.

When officers arrived, people were restraining Marquez on the bar's floor, and he resisted police, who eventually managed to handcuff him, Andraychak said, adding that Marquez "suffered a medical emergency" as responders were preparing to take him to the hospital.

Monroe shared with the Bay Area Reporter draft fire department records that say as a handcuffed Marquez continued to fight with responders, "this crew administered 5 mg Versed IM." About two minutes later, Marquez was "noted to be apneic and pulseless," according to medical records that Monroe provided.

Versed is also known as midazolam hydrochloride and is often given to people before they undergo medical procedures.

According to the fire department documents, Marquez suffered cardiac arrest after emergency medical service providers arrived at the bar.

Monroe believes mixing the sedative with other substances in Marquez's body had ended his life. He said that medical staff have told him that Marquez had methamphetamine in his system, and the fire department report said alcohol could be smelled on his breath. Records don't clearly mention methamphetamine or indicate how much alcohol Marquez had in his system.

Monroe hasn't filed complaints with any city agencies, including the fire department.

"What good would that do?" he said. "... My complaint is going to be in the form of a lawsuit."

Jonathan Baxter, a fire department spokesman, has declined to comment on specific details of the case, citing medical privacy law.

In response to a request for records associated with the March 11 incident, the Department of Emergency Management told the B.A.R. that the information could not be provided because it "is part of an ongoing criminal investigation."

Asked about the status of the investigation, Andraychak, the police department spokesman, said, "Due to the fact that police were called, responded, and had detained [Marquez] at the scene, the department's 'in custody death' protocol was initiated. This matter is currently being investigated by the department's Internal Affairs Unit and Homicide Detail."

Marquez, who was also known as Abel Florentino, was married. His husband was not available for comment.

A Gofundme page ( has been established to help pay Marquez's medical bills and other expenses. Plans for a memorial are pending.


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