Lisa Williams vigil on South Van Ness and 19th. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

This is a reader-submitted letter from Erin Perusse, a South Van Ness Avenue resident who lives near where Lisa Williams, a 21-year-old woman, was shot and killed on Wednesday, December 7. Perusse wrote to Mission Local concerned about the treatment of the crime scene following the shooting. We are publishing her letter, edited for clarity, with her permission.

The police have not made an arrest in the shooting death of Williams, but on Thursday evening, a vigil was held on South Van Ness for the young victim.

This happened directly in front of our house, and my husband was one of the first people to find her. He ran outside as soon as the shooting stopped. The most terrifying part was that the shooting went on for many, many shots. We consider ourselves very lucky that the gunshots did not hit our apartment.

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.

I am very disturbed by the conduct and disrespect of our emergency responders after the crime. 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 blood stain left behind after the shooting of Lisa Williams on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. Photo by Erin Perusse.

Around 8 a.m., my husband called the police dispatch begging them to come clean up the area. 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. They basically just made it worse, but then left.

Near 9 a.m. this was still the condition [of the blood stain]. 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.

San Francisco has disgusted me many many, many times with its corruption and political pandering at the expense of residents (especially in the Mission) but this was inexcusable!

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.

I have a lot of compassion for the homeless that ring our immediate blocks of Shotwell and Folsom, I am not one of those who is concerned by the “blight.” I am concerned because these are humans that deserve to be treated with dignity, regardless of their economic conditions. The homeless around us are not the criminal element in our neighborhood people accuse them of. However, johns and drug dealers treat the Mission as their one-stop shopping for indulgence. The police appear too detached to care.

Perusse wrote that a vigil for Williams was held on South Van Ness Avenue Thursday night with candles and photos of the deceased. The morning after, the memorial was still there, a few candles still lit after the night rain.

The vigil for Lisa Williams, a 21-year-old woman who was shot and killed on South Van Ness Avenue on December 7, 2016. Photo by Erin Perusse.
Lisa Williams vigil on South Van Ness and 19th. Photo by Lola M. Chavez
Lisa Williams vigil on South Van Ness and 19th. Photo by Lola M. Chavez
Lisa Williams vigil on South Van Ness and 19th. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

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  1. Three years SF human trafficking task force and all you got is a half baked report with recommendations to keep the bureaucrats happy. Assuming the below is accurate, basically they intend to keep themselves busy determining how they want to classify and count.

  2. A similar thing happened to me in Oakland after a shooting with a multiple agency response. I came out of my house to find bloody gauze pads and gloves lying on the ground. When I called OPD and complained the fire department responded immediately and cleaned it up but it was outrageous that anyone would discard their protective gear in such an unprofessional and disrespectful way.

  3. Several years ago, while working at Metreon, someone killed themselves by jumping head-first off the roof. I got to listen in horror as the first responders launched in after we asked what would be done about clean-up… “First, I’d get a shovel and get as much of the stuff up as you can, then I’d hit it with a viricide or some of that blue stuff you use for bio messes…” It took us a while to understand that, essentially, WE’D be shoveling brains off the public sidewalk.

    RIP, Ms Williams

  4. I thinks it’s innaproatie and very insensitive to assume this young lady was a prostitute. We need open our hearts. Maybe she was a gh nurse walking to her job. I find Erin Perruse to be the reason Trump got elected. Need to open our hearts and stop sterotyping people. I wish she was able to see the first women President. Do not vote for Ivanka Trump in 8 years no good. Vote Bernie Bernie . Gives free townhouse in mission with free parking and cable with all the channels.

    1. You are absolutely correct Mr. Ruiz.
      You gave a wonderful heart & spirit
      My love & prayers to you this holiday
      Merry Merry Christmas
      From Montana

    2. When you live in this neighborhood as long as I happen to know Ms. Preuse has you get to know your neighbors. This includes the homeless and those working the streets or dealing. I don’t think she is making a presumption. I am pretty sure she knows the workings of her own street after years of observation. She is not a pearl clutching nimby and actually has a lot of care and compassion for people in her community.

      1. You should embrace diversity. Shame on you. Please do not vote since your a right wing racist. Love Trumps hate.

    3. To those of us that leave in the area this is not a one time incident. There has been multiple shootings, often involving women who stand out there through all hours of the night. It is safe to say that they are not working as nurses at general hospital. This violence against them is constant; shootings, stabbings, etc. It’s time to call it for what it is and pressure the city to deal with this problem which has gone far too long being ignored. Again, there has been other shootings involving prostitutes in this area… how many more have to die?

    4. “Maybe she was a gh nurse walking to her job.”
      It would have been all over the news if something like that was the case. That’s besides the point that she’s making anyhow, get a grip.
      San Francisco is broken and things continue to keep breaking year after year, yet, the annual budget swells at $4.5b. Ridiculous.