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San Francisco police to investigate artist’s death as homicide

The death of Stuart Jackson, 74, came 10 days after the portrait artist was attacked on the sidewalk near the busy intersection of Van Ness Avenue and Market Street on the western edge of downtown.

Jackson was a well-known figure who plied his art in the cafes and bars of North Beach, just up Columbus Avenue from the financial district and the iconic Transamerica Pyramid.

He would sketch patrons at the Vesuvio Cafe, Caffe Trieste and other famous spots without their knowledge and then try to sell them to the customers for cash.

Jackson signed his work with “Stu Jackson” and the date of the encounter.

Tourists and locals, too, apparently, bought enough of the drawings to enable Jackson to live in a local residency hotel for the past 15 years.

““He was kind of a unique, local character and a lot of people were familiar with him,” a neighbohood friend, Marc Dierkes, told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

San Francisco Police Officer Albie Esparza told the Hoodline online newspaper that witnesses saw Jackson being assaulted on Van Ness on the afternoon of Dec. 5, falling to the pavement and striking his head.

Homicide Det. Sgt. Kyra Delaney called an unprovoked attack like the kind that befell Jackson “rare and troubling.”

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Delaney told Hoodline.

“We’re doing everything we can to figure out who did this,” she said.

No suspect has yet been arrested and police are waiting for a determination of the cause of Jackson’s death from the coroner, Hoodline said.

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