Ten officers fired 99 rounds of gunfire at a 19-year-old man who was the suspect of an armed robbery in the Mission District on March 6, San Francisco Police Department leaders said on Monday. The man allegedly initially opened fire at the officers.
Of the rounds fired, 25 bullets struck and killed Jesus Adolfo Delgado Duarte, who hid in the trunk of a black Honda Civic throughout the encounter with police, said Capt. Valerie Matthews of the SFPD Major Crimes Unit, addressing the slain man’s friends, family and community members at a town hall meeting at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in the Mission District on Tuesday.
Matthews said one officer first discharged a bean bag shotgun at Duarte, who was shown in footage that captured the incident as having one hand raised and protruding from the trunk of the Civic. Duarte allegedly fired one shot from inside of the trunk in the direction of the officers, who were not injured.
The names of the officers who discharged their weapons were not released on Monday due to safety concerns, said Police Chief Bill Scott, adding that policy dictates the names be released within 10 days of the shooting. All ten of the officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, according to a spokesperson for the department.
Matthews said Duarte failed to comply with police orders to exit the vehicle, and allegedly fired in the direction of multiple police officers, who then sprayed the car with nearly 100 bullets. That revelation drew both anger and tears from a crowd of more than 200 people who attended the town hall.
“He aimed at the fucking floor and they shot 99 bullets at him,” Benjamin Bac Sierra, a City College of San Francisco teacher and activist who has called for charges against officers involved in the 2014 shooting of Mission District resident Alex Nieto, said. “This is a fucking circus, to be honest with you.”
Another suspect in the last week’s robbery, 17-year-old Cristina Juarez, was still in the car when officers opened fire but was not injured in the shooting, said Matthews.
“They knew that my daughter was in there with them [too], they knew because they asked her to put her hands up,” Juarez’ mother said, addressing Scott. “They asked her to get out but the car was a two-door car, she had no chance. If she put one of her hands down to open the door, you know you guys would have killed her.”
Victor Navarro-Flores, the car’s 19-year-old driver, complied with orders to exit the vehicle minutes before the shooting took place and was arrested. He has since been charged with second-degree robbery and is due to appear in court on Tuesday.
The shooting took place some 20 minutes after two officers were flagged down by the two victims of an alleged robbery at 20th and Capp streets at about 10:36 p.m. last Tuesday.
The officers tracked Duarte, who was running on foot, for about a block and a half to where the black Honda Civic with two other occupants was parked mid-block at 21st and Capp streets, said Matthews.
Police presented a total of five videos of incident to the public on Monday, including one taken from a Capp Street home security camera, the body-worn cameras of three officers involved and the cellphone of a bystander.
For several minutes, at least two officers could be heard yelling for the car’s passengers to show their hands and exit the car.
The videos first show Flores exiting the vehicle with his hands raised, then inching toward officers before being arrested.
Police repeated their calls for Duarte to exit the trunk, and several minutes passed before one officer inquired whether any officer at the scene “speaks Spanish.” Shortly after, an interpreter arrived and repeated the order in Spanish.
An English speaking officer can be heard prompting the interpreter to tell Duarte that “he will get shot if he doesn’t show his hands.”
Police said Duarte fired one shot from a 9mm handgun, which was later recovered from the trunk, before officers discharged a barrage of gunfire.
Duarte grew up in the Mission District, where he attended John O’Connell High School for some time. Duarte was a longtime member of the neighborhood’s Boys and Girls Club and 21st and Alabama streets, and was employed at a Mission District Metro PCS store.
Duarte’s older brother, Victor Torres, was present at the town hall alongside Duarte’s father, older sister, aunt and uncle. Torres described the pain of their mother coming “home to an empty room and an empty bed.”
“You guys took him from my mom, so please don’t tell me that you’re sorry,” Torres said. “You were able to finish your day, go home, look at your kids in the eyes and tell them that you love them. My mom doesnt’ have that [opportunity] anymore, you took that from her.”
Duarte, whose family immigrated from Mexico, was undocumented, confirmed community advocate Susanna Rojas, who is acting as a spokesperson for the slain man’s family.
“This is not OK in San Francisco, that his last words were [about] his fear of being deported,” said Mission activist Tracy Brown on Monday. “This is not acceptable in a [sanctuary city].”
Duarte’s name adds to a growing list of young black and Latino people shot by San Francisco police in recent years, community activists calling for youth-specific and culturally-sensitive training for the department said.
“What they need is prosecution,” said Mission resident Gloria LaRiva. “Police must be tried by a jury like us.”
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