Three slayings over the weekend and early Monday in San Francisco have police calling for witnesses as The City’s homicide rate continues to exceed last year’s total to date.
On Friday night, police say, Anthony Brooks and Monte Frierson, both 18 and from San Francisco, were shot dead in front of at least 20 witnesses in The City’s Bayview district. In an apparently unrelated incident, police responding to a call of shots fired Monday morning found the body 28-year-old Travis Williams shot between two buildings in the Alemany housing projects in Bernal Heights.
The three homicides bring The City’s homicide total for the year to 54. At this time last year, there had been 47 homicides in San Francisco. The City had 96 homicides in 2005, a 10-year high. That year saw a spike in homicides in later months, with 20 being recorded in November alone.
Police say they need witnesses to come forward to identify homicide suspects in order to arrest and prosecute killers, but residents in high-crime neighborhoods such as the Bayview and Western Addition say they fear retaliation for talking to police.
In May, 20-year-old Terrell Rollins, who was enrolled in the district attorney’s witness protection program, was shot and killed when he returned to the Bayview district.
On Friday, a call came in to police reporting shots fired at about 6:30 p.m. Police responded to Kirkwood Avenue between Mendell and Third streets to find Brooks and Frierson dead from gunshot wounds. Police spokeswoman Officer Maria Oropeza said initial reports indicated three suspects pulled up in a car, then the gunman got out and shot the two men. The gunman jumped back in the car, she said, and the car took off east on Kirkwood and north on Mendell. Oropeza said the incident is thought to be gang-related.
Police say the sidewalk was crowded with foot traffic and that at least 20 people had seen the shooting.
"We’ve had some tips, but we need someone to come forward," Oropeza said. Meanwhile, she said, police are canvassing the area for witnesses and are reviewing video of the incident.
Less is known about the shooting that claimed Williams’ life about 6 a.m. Monday. He was found shot between two buildings in the 900 block of Ellsworth Street. Police have not released any suspect information and are calling on anyone with information to call the department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.