South City officer fatally shoots teen 

click to enlarge Remembrance: Mourners set up a shrine Wednesday at the South San Francisco gas station where 15-year-old Derrick Gaines was shot Tuesday night. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Remembrance: Mourners set up a shrine Wednesday at the South San Francisco gas station where 15-year-old Derrick Gaines was shot Tuesday night.

A South San Francisco police officer fatally shot a 15-year-old boy who allegedly pulled out a gun during a confrontation Tuesday night at a gas station.

The teen, identified by friends as Derrick Gaines, was shot after a brief chase at the Arco at 2300 Westborough Blvd., police Capt. Mike Brosnan said Wednesday. Gaines and another teenager had been “acting in a suspicious manner” near the station’s pumps, Brosnan said.

Police would not elaborate on the teens’ behavior, and the other youngster was not arrested.

A friend of Gaines who was at a makeshift memorial at the gas station Wednesday said the boy was known to carry around a gun.

While the other teen cooperated with the officer, Gaines fled, Brosnan said. At one point during the pursuit, police said Gaines pulled a gun from his waistband. Police have not said whether the gun was loaded or pointed at the cop.

Gaines died at San Francisco General Hospital.

Police defended the shooting Wednesday.

“Our officer, in the protection of his own life, discharged his weapon,” Brosnan said.

Gaines was known to police, Brosnan said, though he did not say why.

The incident occurred outside the view of surveillance cameras at the gas station, which point at the pumps. Gaines’ gun was recovered at the scene, Brosnan said.

Lorne Burnham, 16, said he knew his friend Gaines had a gun, as he required it “for protection.” Gaines told Burnham the gun “wasn’t even loaded.”

Burnham said he felt as though Gaines was growing up too fast.

Gaines had recently transferred out of South San Francisco High School to be home-schooled, Burnham said. He liked to rap and make music, Burnham said.

Burnham and Gaines’ loved ones paid respects Wednesday at a small memorial set up at the gas station. Two teddy bears and handwritten letters were left there. A sign posted near the memorial read, “Rest in peace, baby boy.” Another said, “Stop police violence.”

South City police have vowed transparency in their investigation of the incident. However, few details were provided Wednesday.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office has taken the lead in the investigation

The results of their independent probe won’t be released for at least six weeks, pending the completion of an autopsy, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

A fatal officer-involved shooting has not happened in South City in more than 30 years, Brosnan said.

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