Pride event likely to continue despite shooting 

A deadly shooting at the Pink Saturday street party in the Castro district late Saturday night that sent throngs of revelers running for cover will not likely spell the end of the annual gay pride event, city officials said.

A gunman opened fire into a large crowd at Market and Castro streets around 11:30 p.m., targeting and killing 19-year-old Stephen Powell. Two others were injured, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, authorities said. A 19-year-old man was arrested in what was The City’s 25th homicide this year. The suspected murder weapon, a handgun, was recovered.

Powell was killed after four bullets entered his chest, said Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose district includes the Castro. He said he went to the hospital to check on the victims at 4:30 a.m.

The other two victims, a 29-year-old man and 19-year-old woman, were shot in the leg, police Officer Samson Chan said Sunday.

Chan said the incident is not a hate crime.

Dufty said he had left a film festival at the Castro Theatre and was at Market and 17th streets at the time of the shooting.

“I saw people running in my direction,” he said, adding that the chaos brought back memories of the 2006 shooting that injured nine people at Halloween festivities in the Castro.

That incident prompted crackdowns in subsequent years on Halloween events, but it’s too soon to say that the same should happen to Pink Saturday, Dufty said. The street party precedes the Sunday Pride Parade.

Pink Saturday “has a strong record of safety,” said Tony Winnicker, spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom.

News of the former city basketball star’s death sent shock waves through the community. Powell averaged 21 points a game as a sophomore at Stuart Hall High School and at the time drew interest from Stanford, UCLA and Pepperdine.

“He was a real nice kid. Loved to play basketball,” said Mike Gragnani, the boys basketball coach at Lincoln High School, where Powell transferred for his junior year. “He could have played in college.

“It’s a horrible shame. He just couldn’t keep himself out of some bad situations.”

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