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.
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.