Two men who are said to be members of San Francisco's Mac Block gang have been found guilty by a federal jury of killing one man and injuring several others in a March 2019 shooting at a memorial service on Fillmore Street — and they were convicted under federal racketeering charges which come with life sentences.
The shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center on March 23, 2019 made headlines for several weeks in the Bay Area, hinting at long simmering gang conflicts and occurring outside the memorial service for a notorious local character. Six people were shot, one of them fatally, and the deceased was identified as 25-year-old Mister Dee Carnell Simmons III of San Leandro.
In total, federal prosecutors say "at least" 24 shots were fired.
The shooting injured four innocent bystanders, including a 27-year-old man who was paralyzed from the waist down due to his injuries.
The participants in what prosecutors described as a gang-war-style shootout were all attendees at the funeral of self-described reformed pimp and "drug kingpin" Ron Newt, who had died earlier that month. (Newt was also a self-styled music mogul, who claimed in at least one interview that he had been offered $200,000 to tell a court that Michael Jackson had touched some kids, something he vehemently denied Jackson did.)
The two shooting suspects were identified as Jamare Coats and Robert Manning, now 26 and 28 years old, respectively — a third man, Sean Harrison, was initially named in the shooting as well. And the San Francisco DA's office said in the week after the shooting that the suspects would not face murder charges due to the fact that they were apparently engaged in a shootout with Simmons, who may have brandished his weapon first. (This was still George Gascon's DA's office at the time.)
But federal prosecutors stepped in in early 2020 and charged Coats and Manning each with one count of using a gun in a crime of violence resulting in death, and one count of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun. And in August of last year, a federal grand jury handed down a second superseding indictment charging both men with murder in aid of racketeering — with prosecutors characterizing the activities of the Mac Block gang as a "racketeering enterprise."
The Justice Department announced Monday that, following a three-week trial, a federal jury handed down guilty verdicts against both men.
During the trial, prosecutors showed how both Coats and Manning were in possession of guns they had procured across state lines and brought illegally into California. And they argued that the two men "provoked" the shooting.
In accordance with the Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Activity (VICAR) statute, Coats and Manning face mandatory sentences of life in prison, plus additional statutory sentences up to 10 years for the gun possession charges.
U.S. District Judge William H. Alsup has scheduled their sentencing for October 11.
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