Rash of slayings over four days shakes city’s southeast 

click to enlarge A rally outside of City Hall on Tuesday was just part of the response by residents from the southeast neighborhoods to a slew of killings over the Fourth of July weekend. - JESSICA CHRISTIAN/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Jessica Christian/s.f. examiner file photo
  • A rally outside of City Hall on Tuesday was just part of the response by residents from the southeast neighborhoods to a slew of killings over the Fourth of July weekend.

The deadly violence started with the brazen assassination-like killing of former gang member Allen Calloway in front of a crowd of children in broad daylight. In the three days following the June 30 Visitacion Valley homicide, four more shootings left the dead strewn across San Francisco's southeastern neighborhoods.

In reaction to the surge of violent deaths, police have stepped up patrols and poured resources into the neighborhood.

But some community members are frustrated at what they say is a punitive approach to combat the violence, such as increased patrols and focusing on repeat offenders. In any case, some said, it was too little too late.

That anger was manifest in a rally at City Hall on Tuesday led by local activists and labor leaders calling on city leaders to reverse reductions in violence prevention funding for some of the most violent neighborhoods in the city.

"I ain't never seen anybody get their brains blown out. Imagine what that's like," said Mattie Scott, a San Francisco resident who spoke out about the killing of Calloway at a Bayview community meeting with police Tuesday night. "Imagine what that's like for the 40 kids on the playground last week."

Others said The City has left behind neighborhoods like the Bayview when it comes to dealing with the roots of violence there.

"If this was in any other community it would be dealt with," Paulette Brown said at the community meeting. Brown carries pictures of her son, Aubrey Abrakasa, who was killed in 2006, as well as a large poster of other victims of violence.

Despite the anger and frustration, police say they have to use tried-and-true measures to counteract the violence. Deputy Police Chief Victor Sainez told a crowd of upset residents Tuesday night that his officers have increased their patrols, the Bayview station has added another acting captain so that one is on duty 24 hours a day, and additional units have been sent to the area to buttress efforts there.

Mayor Ed Lee, who in 2012 announced a similar anti-violence effort, which included a summer job program for youth and a focus on repeat offenders among other things, said he remains committed to violence prevention.

"Mayor Lee is deeply concerned about the rise in unnecessary violence in the Bayview and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods and is working closely with Supervisor Cohen, SFPD, City departments and the community to assess the need for additional resources to prevent violence this Summer and beyond," Lee's office said in a statement.

Shawn Richard, who heads Brothers Against Guns and is running for supervisor in District 10, led the rally in front of City Hall Tuesday and drafted a resolution that calls for more funding for violence prevention.

The resolution, said District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, is being considered and she plans to introduce it at the next board meeting.

Cohen also noted the increased violence has been on her mind since late June. In the short term, she hopes to establish a summer peace plan. In the long term she wants to increase the coordination of city efforts around violence in her district. She said she also wants the controller to audit how much is spent on public safety in her district.

But none of these efforts will prevent what some say is nearly inevitable.

"We already knew this summer was going to be superhot," said Hassan Clarkson, 31, who until June 30 worked on a city-funded violence prevention team that focused on the Bayview and Visitacion Valley. "It's not over. This is just the beginning."

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
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