96-year-old dies after alleged assault

An elderly assault victim died Thursday night after Sonoma County sheriff’s officials said he was brutally assaulted by a man who later died in San Francisco police custody, according to the sheriff’s office.

Solomon Cohen, 96, died at 9:12 p.m. Thursday night. He was allegedly assaulted by his caretaker, 57-year-old Filimoni Raiyawa, before Raiyawa himself died in San Francisco police custody Thursday morning.

Cohen was found badly injured in his home in the 13000 block of Dupont Road at about 5 a.m. after someone called for an ambulance and reported he had fallen. But investigators found the injuries suspicious and concluded he had been beaten, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators quickly identified Raiyawa as a suspect and said he had fled the area in a light blue Honda Odyssey.

San Francisco police said Raiyawa drove into San Francisco at about 5:30 a.m. and rear-ended another car at Richardson Avenue and Francisco Street.

When the second driver went to talk to him, he was sitting in his car with his airbag deployed, transfixed and looking forward and talking about God and God’s will, according to police Chief Greg Suhr.

The second driver backed away from him, frightened. Raiyawa allegedly then got out of the car and started going after the other driver, Suhr said.

The driver walked around the block calling 911 and describing the man to police dispatchers as he followed her.

San Francisco police arrived minutes later and found Raiyawa about five blocks from the crash scene. But he attacked them, knocking one of the officers nearly unconscious with a blow to her head, Suhr said.

He allegedly hit the other officer as well, injuring her knees, legs and wrist, Suhr said.

Raiyawa tried to flee into a nearby IHOP, but none of the employees would let him in as he pounded on the door. Additional officers responded and took him into custody after a struggle, according to Suhr.

The officers knocked him to the ground and put him in handcuffs.

He was still breathing and talking to officers while on the ground, but suddenly stopped breathing a few minutes later, Suhr said.

Police gave him CPR until paramedics took over, but he was eventually pronounced dead at the scene. Police said why he died has not been determined.

No gunshots were fired, according to police, and a server at the IHOP confirmed he heard no gunshots. One of the officers did use a collapsible baton, according to Suhr.

Both officers were treated and released form the hospital. Their names would be released within a week, Suhr said.

The incident was captured on video surveillance by cameras at the Surf Motel, Suhr said. That footage would be forwarded to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office for their investigation, he said.