An 18-year-old man arrested in connection with a shooting that injured five people near Market and Seventh streets in San Francisco on Saturday pleaded not guilty today to gun possession and gang-related charges in the case.
The teen, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, has been charged with five counts of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and various other gun possession charges, district attorney’s office spokesman Seth Steward said.
He is expected to appear in juvenile court on Friday, Steward said.
During Blay’s arraignment hearing in San Francisco Superior Court this afternoon, prosecutor James Thompson said the shooting was preceded by an encounter between two rival gangs that led to a member of the rival gang firing at Blay and his group.
One member of the group was hit, as well as four bystanders–a 17-year-old boy from El Cerrito, a 22-year-old man from Santa Cruz, a 45-year-old man visiting from England, and a 74-year-old San Francisco resident, police said.
All five victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital and are expected to survive.
Blay fled the area and police officers saw a loaded handgun fall from his pant leg, Thompson said.
After a brief pursuit on foot, Blay was eventually taken into custody.
Thompson said, “The only reason there weren’t more shootings is that the police arrived so quickly.”
Blay’s defense attorney, Paul Dennison, said that his client did not try to return fire, and was running for his life, but Thompson countered that Blay and an unidentified acquaintance only began running after being approached by police.
Blay pleaded not guilty to felony gun possession charges with gang enhancements, as well as resisting arrest, Steward said.
He was ordered held by Judge Nancy Davis on $250,000 bail, an amount criticized by Dennison, who said it was higher than it should be because of the high-profile nature of the shooting, which occurred while a San Francisco Pride celebration was taking place nearby in Civic Center Plaza.
Police said the shooting was unrelated to the celebrations.
“The bail doesn’t make sense to me,” he said. “We have dozens of these cases every day.”
Blay is scheduled to return to court again on July 19 to set a date for the preliminary hearing.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News