Police identify S.F. man fatally shot early Tuesday

Police are still searching for clues in the fatal shooting in Pittsburg Tuesday morning of a San Francisco man who had no criminal record and no apparent ties to the city, Pittsburg police Lt. Brian Addington said today.

Officers responded to a report of a shooting at Marina Walk Park on West Sixth Street at about 3 a.m. Tuesday and found 22-year-old Benjamin Merrill suffering from a gunshot wound, Addington said.

Merrill was pronounced dead at the scene.

At first, investigators were unable to identify the victim. He wasn't carrying any identification and, because he had never been arrested, there was no record of his fingerprints in any law enforcement database.

Police issued a flyer with a photograph of the victim to law enforcement agencies, and on Tuesday or Wednesday Merrill's cousin, who was in court in San Mateo County, happened to look over and see that a police officer was holding a copy of the flyer.

When Merrill's family contacted Pittsburg police on Thursday and gave them Merrill's name, police were able to look up his fingerprints in the Department of Motor Vehicles database and confirm his identity, Addington said.

Investigators still don't know what Merrill was doing in Pittsburg that morning or even how he got there. He doesn't appear to have any ties to the city, does not own a car and police do not believe he took BART, Addington said.

No suspects have been identified and the motive for the shooting is unknown.

Merrill is the city's eighth homicide victim this year.
 

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