SFPD releases footage of officers firing 65 rounds in shootout

San Francisco police released body-camera footage on Tuesday showing that seven officers unleashed a barrage of gunfire during a Design District shootout with a homicide suspect earlier this month.

The footage shows the officers shooting assault weapons and handguns into a parked recreational vehicle at De Haro and Alameda streets on Feb. 17 after Joel Armstrong, 31, allegedly fired two rounds at police from inside the camper.

Police Cmdr. Greg McEachern said officers fired 65 rounds at Armstrong, who was suspected of killing a man and seriously wounding another hours earlier in a shooting in the Panhandle. No one on either side of the gunfire was injured.

SEE RELATED: Panhandle homicide suspect shot two over alleged rape, prosecutors say

“Each shooting is different and stands alone,” McEachern said. “In this instance here, part of the investigation will be interviewing the officers to determine why they shot the number of shots that they fired.”

The shootout was the first reported police shooting since a rookie San Francisco Police Department officer shot and killed 42-year-old Keita O’Neil through the window of his police cruiser in the Bayview last December.

The Design District shooting stirred far less controversy from the community, likely because no one died or was injured. Neighbors who attended a town hall meeting on the police shooting Tuesday were more concerned with what they said was an influx of homelessness and crime in the area in recent years.

But one resident who has worked for 15 years across the street from where police shot the RV said the body-camera footage “was very shocking.”

“I got a call at midnight from my employee who was right inside watching this whole thing, hearing gunshots,” said the resident, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation in the neighborhood. “It’s a little PTSD to have to deal with this everyday, people coming into our building, people threatening us.”

McEachern also released the names of the seven officers who fired their guns. The officers are Glennon Griffin, Anthony Sharron, Robby Wilkom, Matthew Nazar, Gregory Buhagiar, Steven Oesterich and Christopher Cotter.

Five of the officers captured the shootout on their body-worn cameras, while two turned their cameras on after the shooting, according to police.

A 9mm firearm recovered from inside the RV. (Courtesy SFPD)

Armstrong is facing nearly three dozen charges in connection with the shootout and earlier homicide, including murder and eight counts of attempted murder. Armstrong was expected to plead not guilty to the charges.

The shootout happened after Armstrong allegedly shot two men at Oak and Stanyan streets on Feb. 16 after accusing one of the men of raping his girlfriend. Milkon Isleyen, 28, was shot in the chest and died at the scene. The other man was taken to the hospital in life-threatening condition.

Armstrong allegedly carjacked an SUV and fled the scene. Police later found the SUV parked behind the RV in the Design District. The shootout started after one officer peered inside vehicle and saw Armstrong, McEachern said.

McEachern said three passengers and a dog exited the RV after following police orders, but Armstrong stayed behind. In the video, officers can be heard threatening to shoot the pit bull if the owner did not hold it back.

After the gunfire started, one officer can be heard calling for more ammo.

“Get more ammo,” he said.

The police shooting is under investigation by the SFPD, District Attorney’s Office and Department of Police Accountability.

View clips of the body-worn camera footage here: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7.


Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink


S.F. set to move forward on choice-based admission at Lowell

Vote expected next week, just ahead of application deadline

By Bay City News
Niners face Seahawks in key game with postseason implications

The stretch drive is here and the Niners look ready

Home for now: Noe Valley family chooses eviction fight over SF flight

‘This is an opportunity to demonstrate the realities of speculation and housing for profit’

By Denise Sullivan