San Francisco police said Tuesday they found gunshot residue on the right hand of the 19-year-old Seattle man fatally shot by officers in the Bayview district Saturday, which boosts their claim that Kenneth Harding fired at the cops. And later Tuesday, more protests broke out in response to the incident.
Police said the presence of gunshot residue “supports statements from witnesses that Harding held a gun in his right hand as he fired at the police officers.” No such residue was found on his left hand.
Police Sgt. Mike Andraychak said the residue indicated that Harding either had recently fired a gun, was near a gun as it was fired or had recently touched a gun or object with gunshot residue on it.
Meanwhile, police made nearly three dozen arrests after a group protesting the shooting marched from the Castro to downtown, disrupting traffic and Muni service on Market Street. While walking past the Mission Police Station, a hammer was thrown at officers.
Harding was killed while fleeing from two officers conducting a Muni fare inspection near Third Street and Oakdale Avenue. People who gathered at the shooting scene expressed outrage, claiming Harding was unarmed.
But police Chief Greg Suhr presented evidence Monday that the department’s gunshot-location system, ShotSpotter, indicated that three guns fired 10 shots in six seconds at the scene, and the first shot was fired from where Harding was located. Seconds later, officers fired several more shots in response.
Harding’s apparent gun was picked up off the ground by a bystander at the scene before police could secure it, Suhr said. Police recovered a pistol believed to be that weapon hours after the shooting, through tips that led them to a Bayview home.
Andraychak said Tuesday that police are still testing that gun. The tests include DNA, fingerprinting and whether the weapon was functioning and capable of firing.
Harding had been in trouble with the law in the past. He was previously convicted of pimping a 14-year-old girl in Seattle and was wanted for questioning in connection with a quadruple shooting last week in South Seattle that killed a 19-year-old woman.
Despite initial suggestions by media and police that the woman was pregnant, the girl’s aunt told The Seattle Times that a King County medical examiner told the girl’s mother that wasn’t true. A spokesman said that information would not be publicly available until the girl’s death certificate is filed.