San Francisco police chief discusses fatal shooting by Bayview cops 

A likely parolee from out of state was fatally shot by Bayview police officers Saturday afternoon after firing a gun at them while fleeing detainment for evading a Muni fare, police Chief Greg Suhr said Sunday.

The 19-year-old man -- who has not yet been publicly identified by police or the medical examiner’s office -- was detained by two officers at about 4:45 p.m. on the Muni platform at Third Street and Oakdale Avenue.

“They were initiating the contact when he ran,” Suhr said.

Suhr said the two officers chased him through a “crowded” Mendell Plaza nearby.

“He fired at the officers as he was running,” Suhr said. He said the man was believed to have gotten off more than one shot.

Suhr said both officers returned fire. He said he was unsure how many times the suspect was struck.

Witnesses said about seven shots were fired and the man was hit in the neck.

The man collapsed in a nearby driveway. He was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital at about 7 p.m., according to police. Neither officer was injured.

“We recovered what we believe to be the gun [used by the suspect], through informants, at about 10:30 p.m. last night,” Suhr said.

According to Suhr, witnesses at the scene told police they saw a man pick up the suspect’s gun, and along with two other men, run off. Police are also looking at video taken by a bystander that may show the gun being taken. Suhr said he had not yet seen the video.

“We are so appreciative to the Bayview community members that came forward,” said Suhr, the former Bayview police captain before being named chief earlier this year. “I couldn’t be happier with our relationship with the Bayview community, and how they helped us with this investigation.”

Suhr said police were still trying to confirm the suspect’s parolee status, “but that’s what we believe.” He said the man was from out of state and not known to the officers who stopped him.

“I imagine the reason that he ran was that he has a .45-caliber [firearm] on his person, whether he was on parole or not,” he added.

The officers involved in Saturday’s shooting, both male, include “a senior officer who walks the Bayview foot beat regularly” and a laterally hired officer “with more than a few years” experience, Suhr said.

They were part of a recent increased enforcement operation along the Third Street corridor because of recent gun violence in the area.

“This is the exact kind of thing that they’re out there to intervene,” Suhr said. “This guy wasn’t out there with a gun for no reason.”

Both officers have been placed on standard administrative leave during an investigation by police Internal Affairs, the District Attorney’s Office, the Office of Citizen Complaints and the homicide detail.

This is the second fatal shooting by police officers in The City in two weeks. On July 3, BART police shot and killed 45-year-old Charles Hill on the downtown Civic Center platform. BART police have said Hill, apparently drunk, came at the officers with a broken bottle and was also armed with at least one knife.

That and other recent fatal shootings by police, including that of an unarmed Oscar Grant III by former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland in 2009, have led to anger and protests by some in the community.

Recent protests after Hill’s killing shut down BART service briefly and caused significant commute delays. Protests again erupted early Sunday in the Mission district, while video taken at the scene of Saturday’s shooting showed some Bayview residents expressing fury at police.

Suhr said that response was not characteristic of the relationship between police and most members of the community.

“Those were the same people standing there when three people ran off with the [suspect’s] gun and didn’t say anything,” he said. “The real Bayview community stepped up on this.”

Suhr is planning a public meeting in the Bayview, likely this week, to discuss the incident.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

 

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