A photo of Luis Gongora at Wednesday's town hall meeting, where Chief Greg Suhr and other police officials addressed an angry crowd. Photo by Lola M. Chavez.

Luis Gongora Pat, the homeless man who was shot and killed by San Francisco police officers in the Mission District in April, was shot six times and had drugs in his system, a city autopsy released on Thursday shows.

Gongora Pat was killed April 7 on Shotwell Street between 18th and 19th streets after officers said the homeless man was brandishing a knife — an account disputed by several eyewitnesses, who said Gongora Pat had a knife but did nothing to provoke officers.

The autopsy from the Medical Examiner’s Office, which was conducted on April 8, showed that Gongora Pat was shot in the head, chest, arm, and upper back. It also noted that he had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system when he was killed. 

The results match claims made by lawyers of Gongora Pat’s family, who held a press conference in June announcing their decision to file a wrongful death claim against the city. Lawyers for the family — who had commissioned an independent autopsy — said then that the downward trajectory of the shot to the head showed Gongora Pat was shot from above. He was either sitting or lying down when killed, they said.

The autopsy from the medical examiner showed that one bullet entered his left forehead and traveled downward before exiting above his left ear, fracturing his skull and causing brain lacerations.

Another bullet entered his left shoulder and broke a bone in his left arm, lodging in his shoulder. A bullet that entered his right upper back and traveled downward, breaking his right humerus bone and exiting through his right arm. 

One bullet entered through the right lower chest and exited the left lower chest, traveling slightly downward. Two bullets also entered his right arm.

Officers had been called to the scene after reports of a man swinging a knife. Witnesses said that while Gongora Pat had a knife on his belt when killed, he was sitting down and could not understand police commands to drop the knife because he spoke little English.

Within 30 seconds of arriving on the scene, partial video of the incident obtained by the Chronicle showed, Sergeant Nate Steger and Officer Michael Mellone fired less-lethal bean bag rounds at Gongora Pat. These were closely followed by seven gunshots.

The autopsy also detailed Gongora Pat’s criminal history. In 2010, he was arrested in San Francisco for possessing and possibly selling marijuana. 

He was put on an immigration hold by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for four days in 2014 before being transferred to San Francisco for a felony assault warrant. Later in 2014, he spent four days in jail in Milpitas for an unknown reason. 

In 2015, he was arrested for stopping traffic by lying down in the street in San Francisco. 

Gongora Pat’s killing was one of a series of controversial police shootings in San Francisco that motivated protests against the then-police chief, Greg Suhr. Suhr was eventually ousted from the top spot after the killing of Jessica Williams, an unarmed black woman in the Bayview-Hunter’s Point. 

Follow Us

Join the Conversation


Please keep your comments short and civil. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Is it typical to add all the information about his history to an autopsy? Wtf business does that have in there other than to bias the public as to what happened?

    1. This release was structured to counter the misinformation swirling around this issue. This is a much weaker case than Alex Nieto. This autopsy release was similar to mario woods -aimed at a potential jury pool.

  2. I still trying to figure why there’s memorial to this guy? He here illegally- camped illegally- running a bike chop shop – on drugs and armed. Lovely addition to the neighborhood. On the day of his death – he’s armed- stoned- starts the action by threatening city employees- then convince s the police that he’s a danger to them and others – to the point where they use deadly force.

  3. Police officers need to be held accountable, when they kill unarmed mentally ill citizens. At a minimum they should be fired and loose all benefits.