The confrontation that led to an FBI shooting in San Francisco earlier this month may have started over a group of street kids rolling a joint on a corner in Haight Ashbury.
In an interview from his hospital bed Tuesday, 24-year-old Tad Crane described the encounter that left him suffering from two gunshot wounds near Haight and Ashbury streets on Feb. 8.
“We weren’t even selling any drugs,” Crane told the San Francisco Examiner. “We were just chilling there, smoking weed. I was just playing guitar, trying to make some money.”
Crane said his friend had skimmed some marijuana from the joint and given it to another man when the off-duty FBI agent appeared and ordered the man against the wall.
The agent identified himself as “police” and began searching the man, Crane said. But because the agent was wearing street clothes and did not show a badge, Crane challenged his authority.
“We’re expecting a bunch of cop cars to roll up — nothing,” Crane said. “I’m thinking to myself, I’m like, ‘man, this guy is really so out of weed he’s pretending he’s a cop to rob this guy.’”
Crane said the agent pulled out his phone to call somebody while searching the man’s pockets. But he dropped the phone and drew a pistol when Crane accused him of being a “fake cop.”
“I set my guitar down and said ‘dude, take your BB gun to your momma’s house,’” Crane said. “I started putting him in his place really hard for pulling a gun on some kids on Haight Street.”
Crane then lifted his shirt up with both hands to show he was not armed and stepped toward the agent, he said. The agent began “stumbling” backward into the street and shot twice.
“I touched my chest and some blood came out,” Crane said.
Collapsed on the ground and bleeding, Crane said he saw someone make off with his guitar, amplifier and laptop while police and paramedics responded to the scene.
Crane recounted the story as he lay down on a hospital bed with bandages on his abdomen and tubes attached to his body. He has not walked since the shooting.
This is the first detailed account to be offered of the incident. San Francisco police and the FBI have both confirmed the shooting occurred but declined to offer further information.
In a statement released at a community meeting called by Supervisor Dean Preston on Tuesday evening, the FBI said the shooting remains under investigation.
“The FBI takes any shooting incident involving our agents very seriously,” the statement said. “Our agents don’t just work hand-in-hand with police departments, like SFPD, to protect the community, they are citizens of the community. They live here, their children go to school here, and they are part of the fabric of this incredible city.”
Crane said he believes the agent should be fired and criminally charged. He emphasized that the agent did not show a badge until after shooting him.
“He had plenty of time to think about putting the gun back in his pocket and walking away from the situation,” Crane said.
Under FBI policy, agents are allowed to use deadly force only when necessary and when “agents believe subjects pose an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to either the agent or another person.”
Crane is a musician and artist who has been homeless off-and-on since moving to San Francisco five years ago.
He was handcuffed to his hospital bed for several days after the shooting on a warrant for possession of psychedelic drugs for sale, but has since been released.
“My heart is absolutely broken to see my son the way he is,” said his mother, Teri Pederson. “He needs some serious counseling. He is mentally traumatized, not only from being shot. But for the way he was treated for four days after that.”
Crane is not charged with a crime in connection with the shooting.
The FBI has declined to name the agent who shot Crane. The agency said federal law prohibits such disclosure “under most circumstances.”
The FBI said it plans to release further information when its investigation is complete, but the probe could take several months.
The shooting is also being investigated by the San Francisco Police Department.