A 19-year-old San Francisco man suspected of shooting two men at a Mission District pizzeria earlier this month pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges in San Francisco Superior Court today.
Andres Siordia entered the pleas through his new attorney, V. Roy Lefcourt, who said after the hearing that his client appeared to have been coming to the defense of others during a daytime brawl on Sept. 20 inside Papa Potrero's Pizza at 24th and Potrero streets.
Shots were fired during the brawl, killing Francisco Pena, 41, and Francisco Cornejo, 26, both San Francisco residents. A third man was wounded.
Investigators believe the shooting may have been retaliation for the fatal shooting of Michael Sanchez, 21, of San Francisco, two days earlier during another fight just blocks away at 24th and Shotwell streets.
Police said the violence may be related to a dispute between separate factions of the Norteno street gang.
Siordia, who was arrested minutes after the pizzeria shooting along with a 16-year-old boy, faces one count of murder for Pena's killing and one count of attempted murder for the shooting of the man who was wounded.
Prosecutors have not yet charged Siordia with Cornejo's murder.
Siordia remains in custody on $2 million bail and is due back in court Oct. 28 for an evidentiary and date-setting hearing.
The 16-year-old boy, whose name has been withheld because he is a minor, is in custody on an unrelated charge as prosecutors weigh his role in the pizzeria shootings, district attorney's office spokesman Brian Buckelew said.
Buckelew said Siordia was in a limousine with Sanchez the night Sanchez was killed. Another group had argued with Sanchez's group before shots were fired.
No one has been arrested for Sanchez's killing, and prosecutors have not said whether any of the pizzeria shooting victims are believed to have been involved.
Police have increased their presence in the Mission District to try to avoid further violence.
Video footage from inside the pizzeria, which prosecutors are still examining, reportedly shows a brawl between several people prior to the shootings in which those involved wielded barstools and guns.
Lefcourt said today he was still receiving evidence in the case, but he believes Siordia was trying to defend his friends who were being attacked with barstools.
“He didn't start the fight,” Lefcourt said. “He didn't come in there looking for trouble; they did,” he said, referring to the victims.
– Bay City News