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Carjacking Suspect Killed by S.F. Police in Bayview Was Apparently Unarmed

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Police cars parked in the Alice Griffith Housing Development, where a fatal officer-involved shooting occurred on Dec. 1, 2017. (Jeremy Siegel/KQED)

The suspect shot and killed last week by a rookie San Francisco police officer was apparently unarmed, according to information released by SFPD leadership at a meeting in the city's Bayview district Thursday.

Keita O’Neil, 42, was suspected of carjacking a California State Lottery van on the 1800 block of 23rd Street in Potrero Hill the morning of Dec. 1.

Police chased O’Neil into the Alice Griffith public housing development near the intersection of Fitzgerald Avenue and Griffith Street, where O’Neil hopped out of the slowly rolling van.

He then ran toward an SFPD patrol car, while the van rolled into a fence, police said.

“As Mr. O’Neil was at the passenger side of the police vehicle, the officer in the passenger seat fired his weapon at Mr. O’Neil from inside the police vehicle,” SFPD Capt. Valerie Matthews said.


The Police Department released surveillance and body-camera footage of the shooting.

The surveillance video shows an SFPD patrol car pursuing a white van around a sharp right turn onto Griffith Street. O'Neil can be seen for a moment next to the patrol car's passenger side before falling to the ground.

Police Chief William Scott said it was the officer's fourth day on the job.

“He had just graduated from the academy,” Scott said.

Police showed the footage from the officer’s body camera to an emotional crowd at a town hall meeting Thursday night at the True Hope Church. The 25-second video shows an officer in the passenger seat drawing his gun as the patrol car comes around the corner. O'Neil's head can be seen outside the car just before the officer fires, shattering the glass of the passenger-side window.

Police did not reveal the officer’s name.

Residents cried and gasped as police showed the video of the incident, and they denounced the officer's actions when the floor opened for public comment.

“If you would have got out and said, 'Get on the ground,' he would have gotten on the ground,” said Demetrius Williams, who said he was a childhood friend of O’Neil’s. “We’re here because another young brother got murdered. Murdered. And it wasn’t murder by us. It was murder by the people who took an oath to protect us.”

“They hate us! They hate us!” cried Gwendolyn Woods, as community members helped escort her to the back of the church. Her son, Mario Woods, was killed by police in the Bayview on Dec. 2, 2015, almost exactly two years before O’Neil’s death.

“This is a very tragic incident,” Scott said after the town hall ended. “The investigation still has to occur. So at the end of this all, the investigation will determine what actually happened.”

SFPD’s homicide detail and internal affairs division, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the city Department of Police Accountability and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner are all investigating the shooting.

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