Two men, reportedly members of the Mac Block gang in the Fillmore District, have been sentenced in the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old East Bay man who engaged them in a shootout outside a funeral reception in March 2019.
The incident was one of the most egregious acts of gun violence in recent memory in San Francisco, involving dozens of innocent bystanders. It happened on a Saturday evening, March 23, 2019, outside the Fillmore Heritage Center, where a reception was occurring after the funeral of a notorious neighborhood character, Ron Newt.
Prosecutors said that the conflict began inside the event venue, when 25-year-old Mister Dee Carnell Simmons III, of San Leandro, reportedly showed disrespect, making threats and brandishing a weapon. As KTVU reports from the court proceedings, investigators found that 31-year-old Robert Manning and other Mac Block gang members, including 29-year-old Jamare Coats, left the venue angrily and headed to their parked vehicles, where they retrieved weapons. Manning allegedly retrieved an automatic Glock pistol and gave an unnamed individual — possibly Sean Harrison, an associate who was arrested alongside Manning in 2019 and who later entered into a plea agreement with the DA's Office — a semi-automatic pistol. Coats reportedly retrieved a .45 caliber semi-automatic firearm.
According to investigators, the three men encircled Simmons outside the event venue, confronting him, and witnesses said that bystanders attempted to separate an angry Coats from Simmons. Investigators believe Simmons fired first, and the unnamed associate returned fire as Coats ducked. Then, according to witnesses, Coats approached a prone Simmons after he'd been shot at least once, shooting Simmons four times while he lay on the ground, and then shooting him twice more.
At least 24 rounds were fired in the shootout, and the other victims were all innocent bystanders. One, a 27-year-old man who was walking on Fillmore Street, was shot in the spine and is now paralyzed from the waist down. Three other men and one woman also suffered lesser injuries — but several of them testified at the sentencing, per KTVU, saying that the shooting had "dramatically changed their lives and those around them."
Because of the gang affiliation, Manning and Coats were charged and tried in federal court. Initially, in January 2020, they were charged by the feds for being felons in possession of firearms. But more charges were added as more details came out, and in August of this year, both men were convicted on federal murder and racketeering charges.
Under George Gascon's DA's office, the state declined to file murder charges due to the fact that Simmons, the victim, had allegedly fired the first shot.
Federal prosecutors demonstrated how Coats and Manning transported guns illegally across state lines, and successfully argued that they had "provoked" the shootout, even if they had not technically started it.