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Man killed by San Francisco police
may be linked to earlier homicide

By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service

March 8, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco police Chief Heather Fong said Wednesday that a man killed by police in the South of Market area may have been attempting to flee a murder scene by forcing two men in a Jeep to drive him away.

Fong said the officer-involved shooting took place around 4:30 a.m. after two officers patrolling the area of Seventh and Townsend streets saw a man leaning over a white Jeep Cherokee.

One of the occupants of the vehicle was motioning to the officers, who then made a U-turn to investigate.

After the officers approached the man to see what he was doing, he ran around the Jeep, emerged on the other side of the vehicle and reportedly charged toward the officers with two large butcher knives in each hand, Fong said.

The officers told the man repeatedly to drop the knives but he continued to walk toward them, reportedly waving the knives. Then he lunged at them and both officers fired, Fong continued.

"The officers were on proactive patrol trying to prevent crime from happening," Fong said.

"They happened upon this situation and they took the actions they felt were most appropriate."

After paramedics were called, the man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The two men in the Jeep talked to police this morning and told investigators that the knife wielding man had run around the corner at Townsend and Seventh streets as they sat in their vehicle.

According to the two men, the suspect had ordered them to drive him away from the scene. When they refused, the man tried to stab them through the sunroof of the Jeep, narrowly missing them, Fong said.

Police now believe that this witness information possibly links the man to a homicide that occurred just down the block at 785 Brannan St.

Paramedics were called only minutes before at 4:28 a.m. to find a man bleeding from stab wounds in a hallway on the ground floor of the Galvin Apartments.

The victim, Marvin Harris, 59, was a resident at the private apartment building for low income tenants. Neighbors had heard an argument in the building and had found him in the hallway.

Harris died later at San Francisco General Hospital.

Randy Shaw, director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which owns and rents out studio apartments in the building, said Harris had really turned his life around and his death was a shame.

"Its really unfortunate that someone who lived with us for years and graduated from (residential hotel) life to having his own beautiful apartment would go like this," Shaw said.

Shaw believed the homicide happened inside Harris' apartment by someone who knew the man. For Shaw, the homicide was an anomaly for the clinic's many apartments.

"We release over 1,500 units to people, and we've seen thousands of people come and go, and something like this has never happened," Shaw said, referring to the Galvin Apartments as "upscale housing for low-income people."

The apartment building was completed in October.

As for the officer-involved shooting, Fong said the department would follow protocol and initiate an internal investigation as well as hand over evidence to the district attorney's office.

The names of the officers involved in the shooting have not been released yet.

"We do train our officers to be able to handle situations, to be able to escalate the use of force as necessary, and when officers are confronted by a situation where potentially someone will be seriously injured or potentially killed, they are trained and authorized to use deadly force," Fong said.

Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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