A pool of blood belonging to Lisa Williams, 21, who was shot and killed in the early morning hours of Wednesday December 7 on South Van Ness Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets, lingered into the daytime until a family that lived near the crime scene cleaned it up themselves. That's was the complaint of a letter published by Mission Local and written by one of the residents, Erin Perusse.
"I am not writing to you however with the purpose of describing our fear, or the first responders, who were all were very quick, respectful, and thorough," she wrote. Instead, she explained that she was "very disturbed by the conduct and disrespect of our emergency responders after the crime." From her letter:
In the parking space in front of our house was a pile of bloodied gloves and a very large pool of blood. I have two young children and I was very alarmed that a hazardous materials unit was not dispatched to clean this up. To our horror, and very disrespectful to the victim, the blood was just left there as we all left for our day.
The shooting occurred just after 2:45 a.m., and Perusse writes that her husband was one of the first people to find Williams' body. By about 8 a.m. he was calling the police to clean up the blood, and "The response was a fire truck — they just came by and dumped a bucket of bleach water. I will repeat this was not a small spot — it was a pool." Perusse writes that, instead of helping, this made the situation worse. At around 9 a.m.,
My husband went out with a hose and cleaned it up himself. He is horribly upset by the entire episode and disgusted with our emergency services and with the city’s disrespect to the victim and our neighborhood. I cannot imagine another area, or individual, would be handled with such thoughtless disregard, as if it were mere roadkill.
In addition to city services, Perusse seems to blame another group for the situation, one to which she imagines Williams may have belonged: Prostitutes. As she writes:
I see these girls all the time around our block. We all know they are prostitutes. Directly around our block are actually very large numbers out pretty much all day but increasing the later at night it gets. I don’t see the city doing anything for these young girls trafficked for sex and exploitation, nor for the negative externalities brought by their constant presence. The Mission is full of families, yet the police allow it to be a dumping ground for drugs and crime.
Although this could be read as some kind of victim-blaming or a lack of sympathy generally, it seems that Perusse's point is about a general lack of policing and services in her district. "San Francisco has disgusted me many many, many times," she writes, "with its corruption and political pandering at the expense of residents (especially in the Mission) but this was inexcusable!"
A memorial vigil for Williams was installed the following night. No arrests have been made related to her death. In the case, police described the shooter as an unknown male suspect in a black vehicle.
Previously: Woman Shot To Death On South Van Ness