White House condemns a violent crash at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco

Emergency responders work outside the visa office at the Chinese Consulate building on Wednesday after a person drove into the building in San Francisco. (Lea Suzuki/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

SAN FRANCISCO — A U.S. official said Tuesday the government believes the driver who crashed into the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco the day before did so “with malign intent,” but police haven’t shared details about the driver’s identity or motive for what the Chinese government has branded a “violent attack.”

A witness waiting his turn to submit his visa documents at the consulate Monday described seeing the car barrel through the main doors at full speed before striking a wall. The driver was bleeding from his head as he exited the vehicle yelling about the C.C.P., an abbreviation for the Chinese Communist Party, Sergii Molchanov said.

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San Francisco police arrived on scene and shot the driver, who died later in a hospital.

“We condemn this incident and all violence perpetrated against foreign diplomatic staff working in the United States,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said.

U.S. government officials have been in contact with Chinese foreign ministry officials in the aftermath of the incident Monday, according to a White House official who was not authorized to comment and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The official added that investigators believe the driver was “acting with malign intent.”

San Francisco police said Monday they didn’t know why the unidentified driver smashed through the front of the consulate, located in a residential neighborhood and next to a major street. The San Francisco Police Department said in a statement Tuesday it had no other information and that it would hold a town hall meeting within 10 days to discuss the fatal shooting.

Molchanov was in line waiting for his turn to submit his visa documents when the car, a blue Honda sedan, barreled in through the main doors at full speed, barely missing him.

Molchanov told The Associated Press that the car struck a wall, and he saw the driver, who was bleeding from his head, exit the car.

Molchanov took out his phone and recorded security guards approaching the man and several people running out of the building.

“Two security guards from the entrance tried to confront him and calm him down,” Molchanov said.

When it appeared that the man was attempting to grab something from his car, Molchanov said he rushed outside.

Shortly after that, police arrived on the scene. Molchanov said he heard two gunshots.

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