Residents still upset over Bayview Shooting

July 22, 2011 5:41:14 PM PDT
Police are intensifying the search for a missing gun that belonged toa 19-year-old shot by San Francisco police officers in the Bayview District now that a medical examination has determined the teen likely shot and killed himself.

Police are now offering a $1,000 reward for information that will help police locate the missing firearm. Though medical experts have determined suspect Kenneth Harding, Jr. died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, that has done little to diffuse the anger pent up in the Bayview District.

"Ed, right now, we have to stop the killing of these youngsters in the community," a Bayview resident told San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at a groundbreaking ceremony for a library on Friday. "We need jobs."

"You know me, I'm not giving up on any community," Lee responded.

"I understand that, but it's just not working," the community activist replied. "That's all."

The exchange at the groundbreaking ceremony was more cordial than a few nights earlier when San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr was shouted out of a town hall meeting meant to bring about open dialogue between the police and community members about the shooting.

The crowd booed and repeatedly interrupted Suhr, which prompted the chief to give up and leave.

That was on Wednesday evening. One day later, a new twist in the investigation surprised everyone, including the mayor.

"It surprises me about what those forensics said, and so I'm probably like everybody else," Lee said. "I went, wow!"

The medical examiner announced the bullet that killed Harding was not fired by a standard police-issued .40-caliber gun, but was instead a .380-caliber round that struck the suspect in the head.

Police say they have yet to recover that gun, but investigators did find another live .380-caliber bullet in Harding's jacket pocket.

Suhr says he believes Harding accidentally shot himself after he was hit in the leg by an officer who was returning fire.

"Apparently, the officer shot and hit the suspect in the leg," Suhr said. "Imagine, if you would, an instant ham string pain pull would cause that person to lurch, and the gun fired, entering the right side of the neck and lodged between the cheek."

A video shot with a cell phone appears to show a silver gun laying on the ground near the suspect. Suhr said an analysis of the video appears to show the gun as either a .380-caliber firearm or a 9mm weapon. That gun is missing, but Suhr said they know who took it and they are currently looking for him.

Suhr said the gun that is missing from the Bayview Shooting was not the same weapon used in the Seattle shooting death of a pregnant woman. Harding was a person of interest in the Seattle incident, which took place one week before his own death.


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