Kevin Epps (Courtesy SFPD)

Prosecutors decline to charge SF filmmaker for Glen Park homicide

Prosecutors late Tuesday said they have declined to charge a San Francisco filmmaker in connection with a fatal shooting in Glen Park.

Kevin Epps, 48, was arrested at the scene of the Monday afternoon homicide and was booked into San Francisco County Jail later that day on suspicion of murder.

The shooting happened about 1:30 p.m. in the 100 block of Addison Street. The identity of the victim, a man, has not yet been released.

The arrest of Epps, a local filmmaker who captured life on the streets of San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood on suspicion of murder, left many in the local arts community dismayed.

“We find the news shocking,” said Rick Norris, a programmer at the Roxie Theater in the Mission District where Epps’ films were played. “He has been to the Roxie on several occasions, showing a number of his films.”

Norris, who described Epps’ films as cinema verite, called the filmmaker a low-key ambassador for his community.

Epps’ films include “Straight Outta Hunters Point,” which was released in 2003 and played at the now-shuttered Red Vic Movie House. “It was a big hit. It put Kevin right on the map,” said Norris.

Epps subsequently completed in 2009 the film “Black Rock” about black inmates at Alcatraz. In 2012, he released “Straight Outta Hunters Point 2.”

Epps was an arts Fellow as part of a De Young Museum program that ran from 2011 to 2015.
Tamika Shenier met Epps around 2006 when she was working for the San Francisco Black Film Festival.

Epps’ films, said Shenier, gave a real ground-level insight into his neighborhood.

“At that time, you had a lot of roughness, it was kind of hard. They were poor neighborhoods,” Shenier said. “It’s a way to share. When you see it in film, you can kind of relate.”

Epps’ arrest threatened to cast a shadow over his work, she added. “I guess I just don’t want it to … you don’t want one negative thing to… overshadow your whole career that’s been positive.”

Supervisor London Breed, who knows Epps, said he is the last person she expected to get caught up in such an event.

“Finding out about this is clearly a shock,” said Breed, who cautioned that no one is guilty until proven so. “Kevin isn’t a bad person.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors only said there was insufficient evidence to charge Epps and that the investigation remains ongoing.

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