SFPD Says Man Killed by Police in Bayview-Hunters Point Shot First; Video of Shooting Aftermath

Update: 5:00 pm KQED’s Mina Kim attended a press conference this afternoon by SFPD command staff, who said the department had evidence the suspect had shot at police before being fired upon. Here’s a summary of what police said:

Who is Kenneth Harding?

Police say the suspect’s full name is Kenneth Wade Harding Jr. He is from Seattle and was on parole after serving 22 months in Washington state prison for attempting to prostitute a 14-year-old. Police say he was in violation of his parole by being in California. He was also a person of interest in a homicide last Wednesday, in Washington, in which a 19-year-old, pregnant woman was killed. Police say they don’t know why Harding was in San Francisco.

Who shot first?

Police say Harding fired at officers before the officers returned fire. Lieutenant Hector Sainez, Commanding Officer for SFPD’s homicide detail said, “We have witnesses who say they did see flash, the muzzle flash the suspect fired backwards at the officers as he was running.”

In addition to eyewitness testimony, police say they have GPS technology that pinpointed where there was gunfire, as well as recorded audio.

Commander Mikail Ali said, “The timeline on these 10 shots that were registered by the system is about six seconds. There is a time of 1.9 seconds between the first shot and the second shot. It is that time period that we believe that the first shot was fired by the suspect, and then the officers were in a position to identify and respond accordingly to being fired upon.

Has Harding’s gun been recovered?

Police say they have a gun, but have not yet confirmed if it’s the gun Harding used to fire at officers. They are waiting for results of ballistics, DNA, and other tests.

Who were the police officers involved in the shooting?

One of the officers was a senior station officer in the Bayview who walks the Third Street beat regularly. The other has 3+ years of law-enforcement experience. Both officers are now on paid administrative leave.

Is Police Chief Greg Suhr concerned about the community reaction to this shooting?

Suhr reminded reporters that he was a police captain in Bayview and understands the community there. This is what he said he wanted residents to know:

“I can tell that I’m very sensitive to how the community feels about this because I’ve been in this situation before. I want to push this information out as fast as we get it. I want to reassure the community as to what happened and I want to demonstrate with certainty as to what the facts of this case are.” Update 2:10 p.m. KQED’s Joshua Johnson attended a protest today of the shooting death of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco on Saturday. Police say Harding, a parolee who was wanted for questioning in the shooting death of a 19-year-old pregnant woman in South Seattle last week, started shooting at them while fleeing officers who were conducting a fare inspection on a Muni platform.

A graphic and profanity-laden video of the shooting aftermath appears to show a gun lying on the sidewalk, away from a crowd hovering over Harding.

Joshua Johnson’s report:

Protest Monday afternoon at 3rd and Oakdale. (Photo: Joshua Johnson/KQED)

San Francisco city leaders will meet with residents in the Bayview neighborhood in response to outrage over the fatal police shooting of a 19-year-old man. Police officials, Mayor Ed Lee and elected lawmakers are expected to attend.

Supervisor Malia Cohen spoke briefly to residents gathered for a street-corner protest not far from where the shooting happened. She encouraged the crowd to bring their “thoughtful questions” to the town hall.

“It’s one thing to carry your emotion and your passion, but we must use our mind, and we must be smart about it,” Cohen said.

The Supervisor added that city leaders will meet with police officials today at 3:00 pm, though it’s unclear exactly what’s on the meeting’s agenda.

The community meeting will take place Wednesday, July 20th, at 6:00 pm at the Bayview Opera House on the corner of 3rd St. and Oakdale Avenue.

A man named Henry Taylor, who says he is a Bayview resident who witnesssed the shooting, spoke at the meeting. Taylor said the “bullets were flying,” and that police fired about eight shots. :http://ww2.kqed.org/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2011/07/bvieweyewitness.mp3|titles=bvieweyewitness

Earlier post: A Washington State parolee was shot dead Saturday afternoon in the Hunters Point-Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. The man has been identified as 19-year-old Kenneth Harding, according to reports, who was wanted for questioning in the shooting death of a 19-year-old pregnant woman, Tanaya Gilbert, in South Seattle last week.

From the Chronicle today:

In San Francisco, the man was stopped at 4:44 p.m. by two uniformed officers who, while patrolling Third Street between Oakdale and Palou avenues as part of a violence-reduction effort, conducted a fare inspection on a light rail platform.

The man took off, drew a gun, and ran more than a block into Mendell Plaza as the officers chased him, Suhr said.

“He was shooting indiscriminately, more than one time,” Suhr said of the man, who apparently fired over his shoulder. “He fired at them, they fired back. That is what officers are going to do. If you fire at the police, they are going to shoot back.”

An amateur video has since surfaced online showing the fatally injured man and what appears to be a gun on the pavement nearby. The weapon was taken from the scene, but Suhr said the .45 caliber silver pistol was recovered Saturday night with the help of informants.

KGO talked to the man who took the video cited above, who said that he and a friend saw the gun on the ground “about 25 feet from the suspect after the shooting.”

Here’s the video he took of the scene afterward and the angry reaction from bystanders. Warning: Disturbing images and harsh language.

The shooting prompted a midnight protest in the Mission. Raw video from NBC Bay Area here.

  • re

    Here is a 19 yr old youth his body riddled with bullets ,he’s squirming on the floor crying like a worm in a pool of blood.The police claim he reason they didn’t give him immediate medical attention was because they feared he still had a gun,and when they asked repeatedly for 90 seconds for him to show his hands he didn’t .Have you ever heard of anything so faccan stupid, here is a youth shot 10 times or more lying in a pool of blood and he’s supposed to respond with his hands up as he drags himself in agony in a cesspool of blood . This police version of what happened is to be filed under science fiction. They claim he ran from them and was simultaneously fired at them. He must have been the incredible rubber man, to have pulled off such a fantastic feat. Their version of what happened is the closest thing I’ve seen to a cartoon. Asking the teen to show his hands after blasting his back open with 10 bullets of more, just think for a second if you were shot one times do you think you could show your hands laying in a spool of your own blood. Their version and concept of events resembles fantasy island,in order to grasp it I will need to find my midget buddy and put on my white suit and yell the plane the plane they are playing bullshit again on the plane.boss. Fantasy Island revisited. We need to wake up and smell reality it’s waiting for you !

    • salvatore alioto

      I for one don’t condone some of the police actions.. but they do have a tough job. Police don’t (shouldn’t) discharge their weapon indiscriminately. To shoot someone coz he’s running away from them doesn’t make sense.. Why do people run from the police in the first place? it’s cause they’re dirty!For a $2.00 fare all this crap is taking place.. Why didnt he just stop or better yet not run at all. If he was unarmed? dont wanna here bout Oscar Grant.. that officer was chose the wrong profession. He should’ve never been allowed to carry a firearm, and was nervous as a squirrel..African Americans get fucked ove all the time.. When does it stop? Race war perhaps?? then my fate is sealed then although i would never join the white side…. it’s gonna take Jesus to come down and place his throne on this Earth for things to change..

      • tinag

        You are right Salvatore.

  • Bob

    In response to “re”
    There were ten shots, and witnesses that saw the muzzle flash from Kenneth Harding’s gun, which was recovered after a “helpful” person in the crowd pocketed it. If Harding got off one shot, and two seconds later the police opened fire on him, they may have hit him nine times (not “ten or more”, please don’t exaggerate for the sake of hyperbole, a man is dead), though it seems incredible that each shot hit him. The police had no way of knowing how many more guns Mr. Harding was in possession of so they were following a reasonable protocol so they didn’t get shot. Wounded people can still shoot you, that’s why you don’t stop pointing your gun at them until you are certain they are unarmed, or they are so clearly incapacitated that they are not a threat. Remember, Harding had moments before risked the lives of everyone in the crowd by shooting randomly while running. It is a primary function of the police to stop those people, by force, which is precisely why society ARMS THEM with loaded guns.
    If one assumes that Harding was simply running away without being a threat, why didn’t the officers shoot several other people for not having transfers? Are police officers really murdering people for missing bus transfers? No, they are not; and for commentators to suggest such utterly preposterous nonsense only serves to further inflame the community’s irrational fears of the police.

    • Al

      There should never be a rush to judgment; your conclusions should be based on factual information. The S.F.P.D. officers were checking for muni-fare evaders, when they approached a black male subject on the muni-platform. The officers had no knowledge of the 19 year old male’s criminal history. Were the officers on the train and approached the subject after he got off the train and onto the platform? The subject ran from the police officers, and allegedly fires one or more shots from a 45 caliber semi-auto handgun at the police officers. The police officers fired approx. nine rounds at the suspect hitting him multiple times. How many seconds did it take to get off nine rounds, while running behind the suspect? Where did the bullets enter the suspect’s body and how many times was he hit?
      At what point did the suspect lose control of his weapon and was no longer a dangerous threat to the officers or the public? Why didn’t the officers secure the semi-auto handgun on the ground in the video for officers’ safety? Why would the officers leave vital evidence on the ground while a crowd develops, and let someone walk away with it? As the crowd watched the police do nothing to save a human beings life, I watched the video and felt a sense of indifference and callousness by the officers. Why didn’t someone try and stop the bleeding, that’s what looks so callous. The handgun in the video was fifteen feet or more away from the suspect, out of the suspects reach. Why didn’t someone try to render him first aide?
      I know that police officers have a tough job, especially when being shot at. But, they are a police officers not judge and jury; you don’t let a man bleed to death. Street justice by police officers is not acceptable in the minority community or any other community. Whither it’s black on black crime with the police responding just to pick-up the bodies, or the use of excessive force by a police officer in the heat of battle, every community in the U.S.A. deserve respect from their civil servants.

      • Bob

        Al,
        You ask good questions and I hope they get answered. I could speculate, but that probably won’t help anything. In your last paragraph, you posit that “letting a man bleed to death” is evidence that the SFPD to not respect the community. I think that assumes that they really did let him bleed to death, and they did that on purpose. I don’t think either of us is capable of determining that from here.

    • Bryan

      Bob you are so full of shit. I am a retired Sheriff Deputy and a Detective. I have been shot at twice and hit once in the hand from Shots through a Door and once diving for cover behind metal only to have a round go through the Metal and hit me in the chest.

      When you are being fired upon, you have to be aggressive to survive. OUR TRAINING is that you have to get to the suspect WITH COVER and you MUST HAND CUFF the Suspect and IF YOU SEE A WEAPON you kick it away from the suspect BUT DO NOT ALLOW IT TO DISAPPEAR

      ALWAYS HANDCUFF THE SUSPECT you do not WATCH THEM if they can STILL MOVE THEY CAN STILL SHOOT.

      I saw one officer TURN HIS BACK on the suspect 2 Times WOULD YOU TURN YOUR BACK on a still ARMED suspect. Would you NOT JUMP ON THEM AND CUFF THEM WITH COVER?

      What I saw goes AGAINST all my TRAINING.

      Moreover, SHOOTING someone in the back RUNNING AWAY from you is NOT LEGAL Self Defense. The LAWS for Self Defense ARE THE SAME FOR EVERY MAN including Officers.

      I am calling BULLSHIT based on 22 Years of Service.

      If this is, a True Story THIS DEPARTMENT “Cannot” call itself PROFESSIONAL in any way based on WHAT I SAW.

      There you have it Bullshit Bob

      Explain:
      1. Not giving cover and having THE suspect cuffed?
      2. Not finding and securing firearm at the scene?
      3. Lawful Self Defense when shooting in the back?

      • Bob

        Bryan,
        Thanks for your perspective. It is indeed helpful for someone who is not a cop. I don’t know the protocol. From your assessment based on your view of what you saw, I agree; it sounds like there were big problems.

  • dominique crecy

    the system is a bunch of bs the police say anything to cover there wrongs up this is the second black male that has been killed by the police when will there be justice or peace? i can tell you when yall take police away they are no good they are killing our people left and right i feel sorry for no police officers they are no help an they are harm to us i hate the police for the wrong that they do and then look for credit for bs they do i have no sympathy for police at all they make me want to vomit everytime i see them its wrong and if he had a gun they would have known it i hope the persons that killed those two black men suffer for the rest of there lives they know deep down they were wrong you cant take a person life an get a tap on the wrist for a murder when everyone else is getting 25 to life or life for murder that is in justice and you people know it instead of looking at skin color look at the rules and the laws police should get the same treatment as anybody else that has killed somebody give those officers life take them away from there familys let the police suffer police are no good and they need to find something better to do than go around killing innocent people its just wrong justice will be served the right way one day soon

  • Ricky

    If you watch the video the person they believe to have “picked up the gun” clearly says “you dropped your phone” to another person standing near by…he then picks up a cellphone off the ground not a gun which you can CLEARLY see in the video…watch the video again

    • Alex

      That’s not what he says at all.

  • Noah

    The only solace I can find in these repeated shootings of people is the rest of the community is standing up. Last year the SFPD shot a man repeatedly in a wheel chair, now they are moving on to people riding the bus. All bay area pigs can go to hell.

  • dorito

    Sad day for everyone who pleas for this young man, but karma that goes around, comes around and no one is defending the women he killed nor the baby he killed, nor the girl he pimped by force. Lets get our heads straight and ask why criminals get defended and victims go way the wayside. cops just did everyone a favor.

  • Alex

    Idiots. I live in a town of idiots.

  • Oreobvious

    I am a Black man living in the City and the outrage over this shooting is embarassing and rediculous. The young Black man’s worst enemy is the young Black man, not the police. Firstly because we can’t seem to hold ourselves accountable so we perpetuate the stereotype so easily (making it easier for society to incapacitate us); secondly, because we find normalcy in shooting one another but are outraged when its a Police Officer. It is foolish to think the police would shoot a man in broad daylight for kicks. I think its appropriate to think that police would shoot a man who shot at them. Its foolish to think that this guy would run away from a “fair evasion” ticket. I think its appropriate to think this guy ran away because he violated parole, may have been involved in a murder, and was fully aware of the consiquences of being detained (btw why would a 19-year old ex-offender be 600 miles from home while on parole and under investigation?). Ask the 14 year old girl this upstanding young man tried to pimp out if he’s the kind of guy that would shoot at police. I’m astounded that its so easy for folks to concoct some absurd police conspiracy, but so difficult to put the logical pieces together. Get it together folks, this isn’t a Black/White thing, although its all there in black and white.

  • Al

    Facts!! The medical examiner said the fatal gunshot wound that killed Mr. Harding was caused by a 380 caliber bullet to the head. Where did the Police Department get the 45 caliber semi-automatic? Where is the 380 handgun that landed the fatal shot to the head? No one is defending Mr. Harding’s “Street Life“. Galatians 6:7 …..”A man reaps what he sows”. The question is Police professionalism and training. The medical examiner said that “it could have been a self-inflicted wound”. That’s true, so where is the gun?

Author

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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