SFPD Says Man Killed by Police in Bayview-Hunters Point Shot First; Video of Shooting Aftermath
Update: 5:00 pm
KQED’s Mina Kim attended a press conference this afternoon by SFPD command staff, who said the department had evidence the suspect had shot at police before being fired upon. Here’s a summary of what police said:
Who is Kenneth Harding?
Police say the suspect’s full name is Kenneth Wade Harding Jr. He is from Seattle and was on parole after serving 22 months in Washington state prison for attempting to prostitute a 14-year-old. Police say he was in violation of his parole by being in California. He was also a person of interest in a homicide last Wednesday, in Washington, in which a 19-year-old, pregnant woman was killed. Police say they don’t know why Harding was in San Francisco.
Who shot first?
Police say Harding fired at officers before the officers returned fire. Lieutenant Hector Sainez, Commanding Officer for SFPD’s homicide detail said, “We have witnesses who say they did see flash, the muzzle flash the suspect fired backwards at the officers as he was running.”
In addition to eyewitness testimony, police say they have GPS technology that pinpointed where there was gunfire, as well as recorded audio.
Commander Mikail Ali said, “The timeline on these 10 shots that were registered by the system is about six seconds. There is a time of 1.9 seconds between the first shot and the second shot. It is that time period that we believe that the first shot was fired by the suspect, and then the officers were in a position to identify and respond accordingly to being fired upon.
Has Harding’s gun been recovered?
Police say they have a gun, but have not yet confirmed if it’s the gun Harding used to fire at officers. They are waiting for results of ballistics, DNA, and other tests.
Who were the police officers involved in the shooting?
One of the officers was a senior station officer in the Bayview who walks the Third Street beat regularly. The other has 3+ years of law-enforcement experience. Both officers are now on paid administrative leave.
Is Police Chief Greg Suhr concerned about the community reaction to this shooting?
Suhr reminded reporters that he was a police captain in Bayview and understands the community there. This is what he said he wanted residents to know:
“I can tell that I’m very sensitive to how the community feels about this because I’ve been in this situation before. I want to push this information out as fast as we get it. I want to reassure the community as to what happened and I want to demonstrate with certainty as to what the facts of this case are.”
Update 2:10 p.m. KQED’s Joshua Johnson attended a protest today of the shooting death of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco on Saturday. Police say Harding, a parolee who was wanted for questioning in the shooting death of a 19-year-old pregnant woman in South Seattle last week, started shooting at them while fleeing officers who were conducting a fare inspection on a Muni platform.
A graphic and profanity-laden video of the shooting aftermath appears to show a gun lying on the sidewalk, away from a crowd hovering over Harding.
Joshua Johnson’s report:
San Francisco city leaders will meet with residents in the Bayview neighborhood in response to outrage over the fatal police shooting of a 19-year-old man. Police officials, Mayor Ed Lee and elected lawmakers are expected to attend.
Supervisor Malia Cohen spoke briefly to residents gathered for a street-corner protest not far from where the shooting happened. She encouraged the crowd to bring their “thoughtful questions” to the town hall.
“It’s one thing to carry your emotion and your passion, but we must use our mind, and we must be smart about it,” Cohen said.
The Supervisor added that city leaders will meet with police officials today at 3:00 pm, though it’s unclear exactly what’s on the meeting’s agenda.
The community meeting will take place Wednesday, July 20th, at 6:00 pm at the Bayview Opera House on the corner of 3rd St. and Oakdale Avenue.
A man named Henry Taylor, who says he is a Bayview resident who witnesssed the shooting, spoke at the meeting. Taylor said the “bullets were flying,” and that police fired about eight shots.
A Washington State parolee was shot dead Saturday afternoon in the Hunters Point-Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. The man has been identified as 19-year-old Kenneth Harding, according to reports, who was wanted for questioning in the shooting death of a 19-year-old pregnant woman, Tanaya Gilbert, in South Seattle last week.
From the Chronicle today:
In San Francisco, the man was stopped at 4:44 p.m. by two uniformed officers who, while patrolling Third Street between Oakdale and Palou avenues as part of a violence-reduction effort, conducted a fare inspection on a light rail platform.
The man took off, drew a gun, and ran more than a block into Mendell Plaza as the officers chased him, Suhr said.
“He was shooting indiscriminately, more than one time,” Suhr said of the man, who apparently fired over his shoulder. “He fired at them, they fired back. That is what officers are going to do. If you fire at the police, they are going to shoot back.”
An amateur video has since surfaced online showing the fatally injured man and what appears to be a gun on the pavement nearby. The weapon was taken from the scene, but Suhr said the .45 caliber silver pistol was recovered Saturday night with the help of informants.
KGO talked to the man who took the video cited above, who said that he and a friend saw the gun on the ground “about 25 feet from the suspect after the shooting.”
Here’s the video he took of the scene afterward and the angry reaction from bystanders. Warning: Disturbing images and harsh language.
The shooting prompted a midnight protest in the Mission. Raw video from NBC Bay Area here.