Though it's been five days since officers with the San Francisco Police Department shot and killed an alleged carjacker after a multi-city pursuit, problems tracking down the dead man's family have kept us from finding out who he was.
As previously reported, last Thursday, September 25, the man allegedly carjacked a woman's white, 2003 Cadillac Escalade in Richmond at about 4:56 a.m.
California Highway Patrol officers chased him down 580, across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, onto southbound 101 and then over the Golden Gate Bridge. At that point, SFPD officers took over the chase, tailing him east on Lombard Street, south on Van Ness, then east again on Bush Street, where officers lost sight of him.
Then at around at 5:54 a.m., SFPD got a report that a white Escalade had crashed and tipped onto its side at Battery and California Streets, and they knew they had found their man.
At a town hall meeting at noon Monday intended to discuss the shooting, SFPD Chief Greg Suhr reiterated what he said the day of the incident: that when a witness to the crash approached the Escalade in an effort to render aid, the suspect fired a single shot from a six-shot revolver, causing a superficial wound to the Good Samaritan's chest.
According to Bay City News, Suhr said that "the man was close enough to the suspect to taste gunpowder...but the bullet traveled through the roof of the SUV and struck an 11th-story window of a nearby building," instead.
Though officers on the scene called for a less-than-lethal beanbag gun to subdue the suspect, Suhr says that before it arrived the man in the Escalade "turned his gun at the officers," which prompted six of them to open fire, shooting 32 rounds at the suspect and killing him at the scene. It's unclear how many of those 32 bullets hit their mark.
As you might recall, a witness the day of the shooting claimed that a child was in the Escalade, and that police officers had told her that the child was unharmed in the fracas. However, Suhr said Monday that there was no child present, just a child’s car seat in the Escalade.
According to SF Weekly, attendees of the town hall were concerned by SFPD's use of deadly force, and wanted to know why so many shots were fired.
"You meet deadly force with deadly force," the Weekly reports that Suhr responded. "The SFPD does not have Tasers, but you never use less force against someone with a firearm...You do not use less force until the suspect drops the firearm."
Suhr said that the officers who shot the man are on paid administrative leave during an investigation by the District Attorney’s Office, the city’s Office of Citizens Complaints and SFPD's homicide and internal affairs units, as is typical in officer-involved shootings. Assuming the investigation determines that everything was aboveboard, they could be back at work by next week.
Meanwhile, we still know little about the dead man, himself. All Suhr could say at Monday's meeting was that he was "a 34-year-old East Bay resident with prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a firearm and narcotics possession," Bay City News reports. All other details, Suhr said, have to wait until officials can notify the man's family, something that as of Monday they had still been unable to do.