Suspect killed by police in San Francisco is a ‘person of interest’ in Washington state murder 

A parolee considered a person of interest in the recent killing of a pregnant woman in Seattle was fatally shot by Bayview police officers Saturday afternoon after firing at them while fleeing detainment for evading a Muni fare, police Chief Greg Suhr said Sunday.

The 19-year-old man, who was identified today as Kenneth Harding, was detained by two officers about 4:45 p.m. on the Muni platform near Third Street and Oakdale Avenue.

After the suspect ran from officers, the chief said, they chased him through “crowded” Mendell Plaza and he fired at them as he was running. Suhr said Harding is believed to have fired more than one shot.

Both officers returned fire. Suhr said he was unsure how many times the suspect was struck. Witnesses told The San Francisco Examiner on Saturday that about seven shots were fired and the man was hit in the neck.

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

The chief said the suspect was on parole for two Washington felony convictions and is a person of interest in a fatal quadruple shooting in Seattle on Wednesday. According to Seattle police, two men and two women were shot while sitting in parked cars. A 19-year-old woman was killed. News reports said she was pregnant.

Witnesses to the Bayview shooting told police they saw a man pick up the suspect’s gun and run off with two other men, Suhr said. Informants led police to what is believed to be the suspect’s .45-caliber handgun, which is now being tested, Suhr said.

The chief declined to identify either officer involved in the shooting, but said both are experienced. Witnesses told The San Francisco Examiner the officers are white and Hispanic, but Suhr said that’s incorrect.

Both officers have been placed on administrative leave during an investigation by the department’s 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 cops fatally shot 45-year-old Charles Hill on the Civic Center station platform. BART police say Hill, apparently drunk, approached the officers holding a broken bottle and two knives. That and other recent fatal police shootings, including the 2009 killing of an unarmed Oscar Grant III by then-BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, have spurred community anger and protests.

Protests erupted again early Sunday in the Mission district, while video taken at the scene of Saturday’s shooting showed some residents expressing disappointment with police.

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

“The real Bayview community stepped up on this,” Suhr said. “I couldn’t be happier with our relationship.”

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

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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