Slain SFPD officer’s partner describes killing at court trial

Barry Parker says he and Isaac Espinoza identified themselves to the accused

The partner of a San Francisco police officer gunned down in the line of duty spoke in low tones but held his voice steady as he described his partner’s death and his own near miss in court Wednesday.

Barry Parker, 41, a six-year veteran of the Police Department, occasionally shut his eyes during his nearly four hours of testimony Wednesday as prosecutor Harry Dorfman had him recount the events of April 10, 2004, in minute detail.

That’s the day that Parker’s partner, Isaac Espinoza, a 29-year-old father, approached a suspicious man on the sidewalk and said “Stop, police,” Parker said Wednesday. The man, whom Parker identified in court as 23-year-old David Hill, turned and opened fire on Espinoza and then Parker, allegedly killing Espinoza in a hail of at least 12 bullets.

Parker testified Wednesday that he, Espinoza and four other plainclothes officers finished a take-out dinner of Chinese food at the Bayview Station at about 9 p.m., before Parker and Espinoza went for one last patrol.

About 30 minutes later, at the corner of Newcomb Avenue and Newhall Street, the two officers spotted two men, one of whom, Parker said, had one arm inside his coat as if he were trying to conceal something. That man broke off from the other and walked up Newhall Street. The officers followed and decided to contact him, Parker said.

When they stopped, Espinoza got out of the car and said, “Hey, let me talk to you.” When Hill failed to stop, Espinoza then said, “Stop, police. Stop, police,” Hill quickened his pace, Parker said.

Parker drove farther up, he said, to put the car in an advantageous position in case Hill should run. “As I stopped the car and went to put the car in park, Mr. Hill stopped and turned, suddenly. I saw the magazine, which, to my mind, was the magazine of an assault rifle. He fired two shots,” Parker said.

Espinoza fell to the ground and Parker dived for cover behind the car, Parker said. Bullets rocked the car and “one window exploded.” Parker said he sought better cover across the street.

When Parker made it to Espinoza, “He was lying on the sidewalk. He was moaning because he was in pain.” As Parker said those words, Espinoza’s father, who was in the audience, put his hand to his eyes momentarily.

Parker went on to describe the radio broadcast he made following the shooting: “Shots fired, shots fired, Newcomb and Newhall, 406 [police emergency code] officer down.”

As he described his former partner’s death, Parker did not display any visible emotion, but as he finished that part of his testimony, he quietly asked for a recess.

Parker is expected to remain on the witness stand for the rest of the week, District Attorney spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh said.

amartin@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

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