It happened around 9 p.m. at the ARCO station on Westborough Blvd. just west of I-280, near Gellert Blvd. Police say an officer on routine patrol spotted 15-year-old Derrick Gaines and a friend acting suspiciously at an ARCO gas station. Security video shows them running past the gas pump. Police say he ordered the two to stop and that one complied, but Gaines ran.
"The suspect produced a handgun from his waistband at which time our officer in the protection of his own life discharged his weapon," Capt. Mike Brosnan said.
The police officer immediately began CPR at the scene, but Gaines was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries and later pronounced deceased. Police say they have recovered the teen's handgun.
ABC7 News spoke to Gaines' mother, Rachel Guido, who wants an apology from police.
"I want a face to face apology to me and my family for killing my baby," said Guido. "Hopefully he won't die for nothing because he was very important."
We asked Gaines' stepfather, Michael Red, about the gun police recovered at the scene.
"I don't know if he had a gun or not," said Red.
"The media labels him as a bad kid, Derrick wasn't a bad kid, he was a family guy, he cared about his family," said Elizabeth Avalos, Gaines' girlfriend.
On Wednesday, people could be seen showing up at the scene of the shooting, leaving balloons, handwritten cards, and teddy bears. One woman told ABC7 News her son and Gaines were friends. She said they both just graduated from eighth-grade at Westborough Middle School. She said the McDonalds restaurant next door to the gas station is a common hangout for kids.
"It's just violence. It's just sad," Diana Mayorga said. "My son is 14 years old. He was with him the night before. I just think about my son and I feel like it just needs to stop."
The boy's friends built a little shrine in his memory. His stepmother and other members of his family were there but did not want to talk. Many were in shock as they mourned.
"He was just so playful. He's gone. For so long... I knew him. It's so hard to believe," said Gaines' friend Zaire Hawkins.
Police say the young teen was known to them. He had been in trouble with the law. The school district says he had been expelled numerous times and was enrolled in an independent studies program working out of his home.
"I'm not putting a hallo over Derrick's head, but why shoot him? Why kill him?" said Vatima Hawkins, a family friend.
"Our officers have to defend themselves in terms of their own safety," Brosnan said.
South San Francisco police have been especially proactive, working with the community and even setting up a neighborhood response team to deal with rising gang problems ever since six youngsters were shot in a city park two years ago.