According to SFPD, the gun used by a man killed during a confrontation with SFPD has been recovered.

On Saturday July 16, Kenneth Harding Jr., a 19-year-old Seattle resident, allegedly ran from officers who had attempted to detain him for fare evasion at a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail stop at Third Street and Palou Avenue.

Police had originally said Harding had turned to his left while running and fired at the officers, who fired several shots in return and fatally struck him.

However, the bullet believed to have killed Harding was removed from his head by the medical examiner, who discovered it was a .380-caliber bullet, which is not consistent with the service ammunition used by San Francisco police.

The bullet had entered his body from the right side of his neck before lodging in his head, chief medical examiner Dr. Amy Hart said.

Police said they also found an unused .380-caliber bullet in Harding’s right jacket pocket.

“We believe the fatal wound on Mr. Harding’s body was self-inflicted,” said police Cmdr. Mike Biel, who said it was still unclear whether the wound was accidental.

In a statement, SFPD said “San Francisco Police Officers are equipped with .40 caliber handguns. The bullet that was recovered from Mr. Harding’s head could not have been fired by police officers.”

No weapon was found by police at the scene, but amateur video footage taken in the aftermath of the shooting showed a passerby picking up what investigators believe was Harding’s gun and taking it from the area before police could establish the crime scene.

A cellphone and several bullet casings were also apparently taken from the scene, police said.

A .45-caliber gun was later found at a local parolee’s house that investigators initially believed was Harding’s gun, but the ballistic evidence disproved that belief.

In a release sent by SFPD today, they say that “the small silver and black handgun, seen on the widely viewed cell phone video of the incident, was picked up from the crime scene by an individual during the chaotic aftermath of the shooting.”

Police say that a neighborhood resident led officers from Bayview Police Station to the gun, an AMT .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol police say was matched through ballistic
tests conducted by the San Francisco Police Department Crime Lab.

These tests confirmed that this was the same gun that fired the fatal .380 caliber bullet, SFPD says.

No details were available regarding the man who allegedly picked up the gun, with SFPD only saying that the investigation is ongoing.

SFPD was offering a $1,000 reward for anyone with information that will help to recover the gun, but could not confirm if that reward had been claimed.

SFPD continues to urge anyone with additional information to contact the SFPD Homicide Detail at (415) 553-1145 or (415) 553-1071.

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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