George Lipp is a contributor for Mission Local. A day after the shooting, he went out to the scene to talk to neighbors and people that were on the block to try to find out more about what happened. You can read his account below.
The street has a way of telling stories.
Perceptions are crafted by reality, supposition and emotion. Today the street told me about a 21-year-old man who was robbing or was robbed on Thursday night when two police officers came upon the scene and ended up shooting and killing the 21-year-old. The street talked about the 21-year old as the one who ran to recover a bike or the one who tried to steal it. His fate was sealed with a moment of gunfire on Thursday night. The street argued with itself on the propriety of police conduct.
That conversation became so intense that friends became antagonists, turned from each other and walked off down the street that saw and heard it all. Who was this young man? The street replied that he was a 21 year old Guatemalteco. Where is his family? “He has no family here,” the street replied.
No family and only six candles and some very modest flowers were placed on a sidewalk to say good-bye on the east side of Folsom between 24th and 25th Streets. No rum shots, no stuffed animals, no balloons or photos, because he left us pretty much alone. Why did he provoke the gunfire on Thursday night?
“He had been drinking all day and all night,” people said. Others replied and added, “You don’t think so clearly when you are like that.”
The police on the scene that night told everyone to “shut up and get inside.” They also asked the young man to drop his knife. When he didn’t, they opened fire.
“I don’t blame them,” said one woman. “If someone was coming at me with a big knife I would shoot.” Others wouldn’t have. The Guatemalteco’s housemate said quietly of the knife, “It wasn’t that big.”
We looked at each other resigned to the finality of the situation. The street is neither journalist nor investigator it simply tries to show respect to loss with a jigsaw puzzle of understanding.
Amalgamating perception is the street way of rationalizing the loss of a man who’s soul left this earth disoriented, drunk, and so far from home.
The San Francisco Police Department will hold a public meeting on Monday night at 6 p.m. at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, 825 Shotwell St.
Here’s the initial story Mission Local put out when there was word of the shooting. Officers Shoot and Kill a Man on Folsom Street