Friends mourn death of teen killed in SSF shooting

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)

Friends of a teenage boy fatally shot by a South San Francisco police officer Tuesday night have been adding candles, cards and stuffed animals to a memorial at the gas station where the shooting occurred.

Around 9 p.m. Tuesday, an officer came across two pedestrians in the 2300 block of Westborough Boulevard who were allegedly acting suspicious, police Capt. Mike Brosnan said at a news conference today in front of the 33 Arroyo Drive police station. When asked to stop, one of the two juveniles complied while the other did not and allegedly produced a firearm from his waistband, Brosnan said.

The officer then determined it was a dangerous situation and discharged his weapon, striking the boy.  The officer and other personnel who had been called to the area administered CPR and other live-saving efforts before the boy was taken to a hospital, where he succumbed to his wound, Brosnan said.

There was danger to the nearby businesses and patrons at the ARCO gas station when the boy refused to comply with police and produced a weapon, Brosnan said. “SSFPD is not accustomed to this sort of behavior,” Brosnan said.

The weapon the boy had is in police custody and the suspect’s companion was not detained, he said. The captain also said the suspects were known to police and that the officer had initiated contact with the two boys.

This afternoon at the Westborough Boulevard ARCO station, friends had created a memorial for the boy, whom they identified as 15-year-old Derrick Gaines. Former classmate Zaire Hawkins, 15, and his mother Vatima Hawkins dropped off a stuffed animal pillow at the gas station around noon and were going to then visit Derrick’s family at a home in South San Francisco.

Zaire said he had known Derrick since he was 5 years old and they had gone to Monte Verde Elementary School together. He said Derrick had just finished ninth grade at South San Francisco High School.

Vatima Hawkins said she was close with Derrick’s mother and called him a “spirited” boy whom she had last seen about a year ago. Zaire, who started crying while talking about his longtime friend whom he had last seen two weeks ago, said, “It’s hard to believe he’s gone,” and remembered how much Derrick liked to go biking and play video games.

He acknowledged that Derrick might have had police contact in the past but said the teenager was playful and that it was disconcerting to hear about him carrying a gun. As Zaire and his mother spoke to reporters, a group of teenagers lit a candle and placed it next to cards that said “R.I.P. Derrick” and “Rest easy Derrick.” The last fatal officer-involved shooting for the department was at least 30 years ago, Brosnan said.

(Copyright 2012 Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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