One of the only witnesses to the recent police shooting in San Francisco’s Oceanview neighborhood has been arrested and he says police are trying to intimidate him because his version of events differs from theirs.
But he will most likely be released from jail soon because a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office said that while the investigation remains open, they do not plan to file charges against him at this time.
“San Mateo [law enforcement] is doing this because they want to cover up the fact that there’s a witness,” said Gregory Elarms, 32, who lives on the street where a California High Patrol officer and a Daly City police officer were involved in the shooting of Elarms’ friend Ansar Mohammad, 39, on Oct. 25.
Elarms is now in a San Francisco County Jail cell after being arrested early Wednesday morning on what he says are trumped up charges. He spoke to the San Francisco Examiner on Thursday in a jailhouse interview.
Elarms was taken to Daly City for questioning before being booked in San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of assault with a firearm upon a police officer, exhibiting a firearm in the presence of an officer and being a felon in possession of ammunition. His bail is set at $275,000.
According to the San Francisco Police Department, Elarms was arrested in the 200 block of Montana Street by the department’s Special Operations Group who had a warrant to search his home because he allegedly threatened officers after the Oct. 25 shooting.
“This search warrant/arrest was the result of an incident occurring on Oct. 25, 2016, in which Elarms pointed a gun at San Mateo County peace officers on the 200 block of Montana Street,” San Francisco police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said in a statement to the Examiner. “A search was later conducted for Elarms but he was not located. An investigation led to his identification as the suspect in that incident.”
But Elarms claims none of that is true; he was simply responding to the scene of the shooting were his friend was wounded by police.
“They were telling me to admit I had a gun the day ‘Notorious’ [his friend’s nickname] was shot,” said Elarms, who told the Daly City officers interviewing him that the officers were making up the story about a gun. “The only thing I had in my hand was a phone.”
He added, “If I did that, I would be shot or I would be in jail.”
The shooting incident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 after the driver of a stolen Honda led a San Mateo County multi-agency unit specializing in car theft into San Francisco. When police approached the Honda near the intersection of Montana and Faxon streets, officers from the CHP and the San Mateo Police Department discharged their firearms, leaving Mohammad injured.
A CHP officer was also injured, but has since been released from the hospital.
Mohammad, who was hospitalized in serious condition, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and the unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle.
Immediately after the shooting, Elarms started posting videos on his Facebook page claiming that his friend never threatened police nor was he the original driver of the stolen car.
Elarms also told the Examiner that Mohammad, a.k.a. Notorious Dickerson, was not originally the driver of the car he was shot in. Instead, Mohammad had come over to Elarms’ home about an hour before the incident, he claimed.
Elarms, a late night janitor, said the whole episode of his arrest and theses allegations would be comic if it wasn’t so ironic. On the day of the shooting, one of the officers pulled a gun on him, not the other way around, according to Elarms.
“[A] Daly City cop pulled a gun on me,” Elarms said. “They pushed me away from the crime scene.”
Meanwhile, Mohammad’s lawyer is wondering why Elarms, one of the people who saw the shooting, was arrested at all.
“[The] SWAT team went out and arrested the only eye witness to this shooting,” said Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Young at Wednesday’s Police Commission meeting.
Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink