Diamond Heights shooting galvanizes community

Around 100 Diamond Heights residents, still shocked by a recent shooting and other violence, turned out Sunday to call for better policing.

Eleven-year-old Robby Hamilton was shot on May 30 by a neighborhood gang when he was walking with two older men in front of 90-94 Addison St., a low-income housing complex. The community was so shocked by the shooting and other recent violence that Supervisor Bevan Dufty organized a series of community meetings.

On Sunday about 100 residents came in and out of St. Aidan’s Church for the second meeting since the shooting. They raised concerns about drug dealing and gang violence as well as loud Muni buses and speeding drivers on Diamond Boulevard.

“This was unprecedented in the neighborhood,” the supervisor said about the shooting. “For being in San Francisco this is a very suburban neighborhood … you can live a pretty quiet bedroom life here.”

But, Dufty and several community members said because Diamond Heights is perceived as a quiet suburb in The City, often the community’s need for social services and its lower income residents are overlooked.

Lee Ann Prifti, the president of the Diamond Heights Community Association, said the meetings are important to the community because they are a way to have direct contact with officials and demand accountability.

Community action started last year when Diamond Heights resident Dr. Robert Lull was murdered in his home and the suspect, who was well known in the community for his criminal past, was deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial, Prifti said.

On Sunday residents asked officials for assurances the suspect would not be let back into their community. Prifti said before the community meetings residents had a difficult time trying to talk directly with people involved in cases like Lull’s.

More than 300 residents attended the first meeting with Dufty, the police department and other city officials on June 4 and immediately began creating a plan to improve the neighborhood. For one of their first projects, parents, working with the supervisor, raised $7,500 from private companies to send 40 neighborhood children to summer camps.

Representatives from Muni, the Department of Parking and Traffic, the police department and the District Attorney’s Office fielded and answered questions Sunday as best they could and promised to report back to the community at the next meeting on Sept. 10. Dufty said he plans to continue holding regular meetings to try and connect Diamond Heights with city officials.

sfarooq@examiner.com

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