Police arrested three men in connection with a December 2019 fatal shooting in the Tenderloin after serving warrants in San Francisco and in Antioch. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Police arrested three men in connection with a December 2019 fatal shooting in the Tenderloin after serving warrants in San Francisco and in Antioch. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Three arrested in 2019 killing of SF mother

Cops accuse trio of participating in street gang

San Francisco police have arrested three men on suspicion of murder and gang charges in connection with the fatal shooting of a woman in the Tenderloin last December, authorities said.

Ronisha Cook, 33, died at a local hospital after being shot near Eddy and Leavenworth streets shortly before midnight Dec. 19, 2019. She was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in a vehicle near Eighth and Harrison streets that reportedly fled the scene of the shooting.

The suspects in her killing have since been identified as Derrick Sessions, 28, Robert Huntley, 31, and Gary Owens, 39. Police have not offered a motive in the case but booked all three Tuesday morning on suspicion of various charges including murder and participation in a criminal street gang.

The trio was taken into custody when homicide investigators and police tactical teams served arrest warrants at the same time Tuesday on the 1200 block of Pierce Street in the Western Addition, the 700 block of Kirkwood Street in Hunters Point and in Antioch, according to police.

The District Attorney’s Office has since decided to file charges including murder and attempted murder against Owens and Huntley, according to a spokesperson for the office. But prosecutors are not planning to file charges against Sessions at this time pending further investigation.

Sessions was being held at County Jail on $1 million bail but appeared to have been released as of Wednesday afternoon.

Huntley is being held on $1 million bail, while Owens is being held on $2 million bail. Both are expected to appear in court Thursday afternoon for arraignment.

Jail records show Huntley and Owens were each booked on suspicion of assault and firearms-related charges in addition to murder, attempted murder and the gang charge.

District Attorney Chesa Boudin has said he will not charge defendants with gang enhancements, which he has criticized for being disproportionately applied against people of color.

Police have not said what gang or gangs the trio is alleged to have participated in. When asked why police booked the suspects on gang charges, a spokesperson for the department said the case “met the guidelines” under the penal code.

Cook was one of three Black mothers killed in San Francisco within a span of less than 30 days.

Their deaths prompted city leaders to gather with advocates in the Tenderloin in January to call attention to the issue.

“Three Black mothers have lost their lives on our streets,” advocate Geoffrea Morris said in a statement at the time. “Moreover, there are now 11 motherless children in the City and County of San Francisco. Yet this pattern of violence against Black Women remains unrecognized or ignored. We, as a city, need to do more.”

Cook was one of the final homicide victims of 2019 for San Francisco in a year that ended with 41 killings — a five-decade low in deadly violence.

That downward trend has not held up this year. At the most recent Police Commission meeting last Wednesday, Police Chief Bill Scott said there had been 41 homicides reported so far in 2020, or a 37 percent increase compared to the same time in 2019.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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