High school senior gunned down in broad daylight

Jamar Lake will not attend his senior prom. He will not receive the diploma he earned or walk across the stage at Mission High School’s graduation ceremony.

The 19-year-old senior, nicknamed Bear for his more than 6-foot frame and massive build, was gunned down in broad daylight Thursday just a few feet from his home.

After struggling academically during the first two years of his high school career, he got serious in the last two years and begged Mission High School Principal Kevin Truitt to let him take a second senior year.

“He wanted a real high-school diploma. He did not want a GED,” Truitt said Thursday. Truitt let him stay in school on the condition that he demonstrate a dedication to his studies, which he did, passing his classes and the state exit exam.

“He is definitely getting a high school diploma two weeks from [today]. The sad thing is, I’m not going to hand it to him myself,” Truitt said.

Lake was walking out of a store on Eddy and Laguna streets at 10:35 a.m. when a man who was waiting for him outside opened fire with a handgun, San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens said. The shooting appears to be targeted. It was the 39th homicide so far in 2007. There were 85 homicides recorded in 2006.

“He wasn’t in any of the gang stuff they’ve got going on,” said Lake’s cousin, 31-year-old Rikki Richardson, a resident of the Yerba Buena Plaza East housing project, where Lake lived and near the corner where he was killed.

Truitt said there is a conflict between youths from two different neighborhoods in the district, but that it isn’t gang activity. “It’s people who live in different sections of The City and for some reason they have a beef with another group that lives in a different neighborhood,” he said. “Usually it starts over something small.”

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi arrived at the site of the shooting shortly after it happened. “I’m absolutely frustrated and angry that the [San Francisco] Housing Authority, the mayor and the district attorney don’t make this corner a priority,” he said.

Mirkarimi suggested The City look into radical measures to combat crime in public housing, including assuming control of the public housing sites operated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. “The continuing trend is that [violence] is taking place in and around public housing,” he said. “I think the Housing Authority is falling down on the job.”

David Mauroff, service coordinator with McCormick Barron, the private company that operates Plaza East and Hayes Valley North and South under a contract with HUD, said two security guards patrol the three projects from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. He said McCormick Barron budgets as much money to the patrols as it receives from HUD.

Mauroff said the cameras mounted on public housing buildings did not capture Thursday’s shooting. A camera in the store was disconnected, he said.

amartin@examiner.com


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