Audrey Carey, left, and Kathryn Steinle. (Courtesy photos)

City experienced homicides rise in 2015

There are the familiar homicide cases that anyone who paid attention to San Francisco news this year knows about.

For example, Omar Shahwan, who in January was dismembered and packed into a suitcase left outside a Goodwill store on Mission Street. Some of his body parts are still missing.

And Kathryn Steinle, who in July was struck by a ricocheted bullet while strolling down Pier 14 with her father’s arm wrapped around her one summer day.

Or the October death of Audrey Carey, the Canadian backpacker who was shot in the head in Golden Gate Park during the busy Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival weekend while on a West Coast trip.

But there were 49 other reported instances of people killed in The City this year at the hands of other humans. With hours left to spare until the new year, San Francisco experienced 52 more homicides in 2015 — seven more than the prior year, according to the San Francisco Examiner’s count.

Most of the homicides this year were caused by gun violence. At least 21 of the victims were black — the highest homicide number for any ethnicity in The City.

Roughly six out of every 100,000 people in The City were victims of homicide in 2015 (the most recent Census estimates put The City’s population at 852,469).

Some local homicide cases were particularly troubling. The still-unsolved quadruple homicide of four young men shocked the Western Addition in January. The victims, none of whom were over age 22 — Manuel O’Neal, Yalani Chinyamurindi, Harith Atchan and David Saucier — were in a parked car when someone shot them to death.

Later that month a 32-year-old mother named Maria Lourdes Soza was struck by a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting in front of her children and the Bayview home where she lived.

The apparent intended target, Donte Glenn, was also killed. The double homicide is still unsolved.

“I just want justice for my mom,” her 14-year-old daughter Brianna Soza later said.

In February, 36-year-old Taja DeJesus was stabbed to death in the Bayview. She moved to The City about a decade ago to be accepted as a transgender woman. The primary suspect in the case reportedly hung himself the day after the killing.

Kenyatta Butler Jr. and Donzel Gaines were both in their late teens when they were shot and killed while in a car in the Crocker Amazon Playground parking lot in March. Both were well-loved: Butler is said to have liked playing sports and dancing, Gaines is said to have had a contagious smile.

“A lot of people knew Donzel,” said Ron Stueckle of Sunset Youth Services, where Gaines made music. “There’s a few people in the youth services world around The City that everybody loves. I can think of like three or four, and Donzel was one of them.”

In August, 19-year-old Ranisha Raven was shot and killed in the Western Addition. She was interested in fashion and art, and one of the younger homicide victims of the year.

The youngest homicide victim in The City so far in 2015 was 17-year-old Miguel Alvarez, shot earlier this month near Bernal Heights and died at the hospital.

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2015Audrey CareyCrimeCrime InkHomicidesKate SteinleOmar ShahwanSan Francisco CrimeYear in Review

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