A 26-year-old man accused of fatally shooting a San Francisco Department of Public Works employee as he was working to remove graffiti in the Mission District Wednesday morning is innocent, his attorney said Friday afternoon.
Michael Higginbotham was arraigned in court Friday and pleaded not guilty to a murder charge with an enhancement of using a firearm in the commission of a crime, according to the district attorney’s office.
Higginbotham’s arraignment was continued for next week, on Dec. 9, and he remained in custody with bail set at $5 million.
According to Higginbotham’s attorney Matt Sotorosen, the Public Defender’s Office plans to conduct its own investigation into who the shooter was by reviewing surveillance videos and police body cameras.
“None of witness statements identified him as shooter in this case,” Sotorosen said. “He’s very concerned about these serious charges.”
Higginbotham was arrested Wednesday evening in Vallejo on suspicion of murder for the fatal shooting that happened earlier that day.
According to police, the victim, 27-year-old Jermaine Jackson, Jr. was working with a DPW crew near 25th and Vermont streets when he was fatally shot, at around 8 a.m.
Jackson, who worked as a laborer apprentice with DPW since March 2015, was set to graduate from the program next year. He had previously participated in the city’s Interrupt, Predict, Organize anti-violence program and had earned his GED while in it, according to DPW Director Mohammed Nuru.
Jackson, who left behind two young children, was described by Nuru as a “motivated, hard-working and well-liked employee.”