What is the police narrative of the shooting?
Commentary: We preface this section by reminding readers that the officers involved in a fatal shooting are suspects in a homicide investigation. The SFPD homicide investigation unit investigates these officers. The version that SFPD provides to the public is a biased narrative born of the SFPD’s investigation of its own officers.
At the Town Hall meeting at noon on Wednesday April 13th, 2016, Chief of Police Greg Suhr provided the following explanation. The images below are photos taken of the board exhibits that SFPD displayed at the Town Hall meeting.
[No time provided]: SF HOT Team is called to Shotwell Street
Chief Suhr explained that the SF HOT Team was called to Shotwell Street by someone who heard the sound of a crying baby in the encampment. Chief Suhr confirmed that no crying baby was ever found at the encampment. He said the SF HOT Team was on foot at the encampment.
A member of the public asked Chief Suhr to make available a record of this alleged call about a crying baby to the HOT Team (e.g. 311 call, 311 app message, etc.)
9:59:01 SF HOT team members call 911
Source: 48 hills- Chief Suhr said that “Members of the Homeless Outreach Team called the police when they saw a man, now identified as Mr. Gongora, “forcefully kicking and bouncing a basketball against cars in the area.” They proceeded to meet with other members of the homeless community, as they were about to leave they witnessed Gongora “swinging the knife around in a chopping motion,” Suhr said.
10:04:01 Officers arrive and confront Luis
Source: 48 hills- Chief Suhr said “…Two officers arrived at the scene and, according to their statement, saw Gongora seated with a 13-inch knife in his hand “with the blade facing upwards.”
“They ordered him to out (sic) the knife down multiple times, Mr. Gongora briefly placed the knife down with his hand still on top of the handle, only to pick the knife back up again” Suhr said. An enlarged photo of the knife was placed on display.”
10:04:14 Officers shoot bean bag rounds and then bullets
Source: 48 hills- Chief Suhr said ““The first responding officer then fired four bean bag rounds in an effort to disarm him.” Suhr then said Góngora lunged at one of the officers with knife in his hand. This is when, according to Suhr, the two officers fired seven shots, six of which hit Góngora.
Suhr also added that the third officer who arrived on the scene shouted commands in Spanish, as three homeless neighbors Stephanie Grant, John Visor, and Rosalyn Barnett told the press that Góngora was a monolingual Spanish speaker who possibly did not understand police commands.”
Witness statements selectively posted by SFPD
SFPD selectively posted quotes from witnesses on a board (see below). Queried by Adriana Camarena from Justice for Alex Nieto, Chief Suhr confirmed that those ten quotes belonged each to ten different witnesses, which included the two SF HOT Team members. However, on closer post-Town Hall meeting inspection, we noticed that two quotes are the same. Chief Suhr did not commit to publish the full witness statements, though it was requested for the sake of transparency. The names of witnesses were not attached to any of the following statements.