A wedding photographer was pistol-whipped during a photo shoot in front of horrified newlyweds in a brazen, broad-daylight attempted robbery at San Francisco’s iconic Palace of Fine Arts, shocking video shows.
The horrifying scene played out last week in front of dozens of witnesses and was captured by a witness on cell phone video.
Two armed men, masked and in all black, can be seen shoving the photographer, pointing a gun in his face demanding that he cough over his expensive equipment, the footage shows.
The photographer refuses and as he tries to get away, the suspects pistol-whip him.
The attempted stick-up rattled the bride, groom and others in the scenic green space.
The groom can be seen holding up his hands asking the men not to shoot while his new wife appears to be crying. After forcing the photographer to the ground, the two gunmen took off empty handed and appeared to hop into a white vehicle, according to the clip.
The photographer is from Dallas, Texas and was shooting the Bay Area couple’s wedding photos at the Palace of Fine Arts right after getting their marriage certified at City Hall on Nov. 9, he told KGO-TV.
The photographer, a new father, said he wasn’t thinking carefully about the possible consequences as he fought back his attackers.
“I was just freaked out. I tried to protect the client’s memories. The bride was crying the whole time,” he said, speaking to the outlet anonymously.
He said he will never shoot at the Palace of Fine Arts again following the incident, and suggested couples find a different location for their wedding photos.
According to CBS, the idyllic location, which is a hot spot for wedding photos, is widely known for car break-ins with warning signs posted all over the area asking people not to leave valuables in their cars.
Just hours before the Dallas photographer was attacked, another wedding photographer at the Palace witnessed another photographer robbed at gunpoint and caught it on video. The suspect made off with the man’s gear, according to ABC 7.
Both incidents have been reported to the San Francisco Police Department but no additional details have been released.
San Francisco-based wedding photographer Monica Lam said she didn’t know what to do as she witnessed the attack.
“Just watching kind of like the struggle and everything. I just felt for him. I felt for the couple because I know that they felt helpless,” Lam told KXPI.
“I was just scared. Yeah, I was scared. I was very nervous coming here today, I didn’t know what to make of it,” she said.
Lam said she plans to scale back shoots in San Francisco next year.