Luis Gongora, the second of three people fatally shot by San Francisco police in a six-month span that began with the killing of Mario Woods last December, was shot a total of six times on April 7, as his just released autopsy reveals. The full Medical Examiner's report is now online, and as KQED reports Gongora was shot in the head, the back left shoulder, the right upper back, chest, and twice in his right forearm. Also, he was found to have amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system, in addition to another stimulant, mephentermine, and THC, the primary intoxicant in marijuana.
As KRON 4 recalls, former Police Chief Greg Suhr said at the time of the incident that officers responded to the scene on Shotwell Street following reports from homeless outreach workers of a man swinging a kitchen knife. When officers arrived, they say they found Gongora sitting on the sidewalk with the knife upright. When he refused to let go of the knife, officers quickly shot him with non-lethal beanbag rounds, after which they say Gongora "charged" at them. Witnesses at the scene deny this part of the account, with some saying Gongora remained seated, and others saying Gongora appeared confused.
Mission Local reports that the autopsy confirms findings of an earlier, independent autopsy commissioned by Gongora's family, showing that a bullet entered his forehead and exited above his left ear, traveling downward, indicating he was shot from above. Also, a bullet that entered his back traveled downward and exited his arm.
Witnesses also claimed that Gongora did not understand officers' commands because he spoke little English.
We also now learn via the autopsy of Gongora's arrest record, showing he had been arrested in 2015 for stopping traffic by lying in the street in San Francisco, and that he was jailed twice in 2014 in San Francisco and Milpitas for felony assault and for an unknown charge. In 2010 he was arrested for marijuana possession possibly with the intent to sell.
After video of the shooting, most of which took place outside the camera's frame, emerged the day after Gongora's death, many decried the officers' inability to de-escalate the situation without lethal force given that Gongora seemed likely high or intoxicated, and the entire altercation, from first command to final shot, took a total of 30 seconds.
Civil rights attorney Adante Pointer, who previously represented the family of Alex Nieto, who was also shot and killed by police, tells KQED that a lawsuit against the city is coming "in the near future."