Despite light rain, family members, friends and community members took to the streets of the Bayview District this evening to remember the life of a 26-year-old San Francisco man who was fatally shot by police on Wednesday.
With light police presence and with a helicopter hovering overhead, well over 100 people gathered at the intersection of Third Street and Fitzgerald Avenue beginning around 5:30 p.m.
The mother of the deceased, Gwen, attended the vigil accompanied by other family members.
“He wasn’t that monster that you’re going to hear on the news,” she said at the vigil.
She said the San Francisco Police Department “needs to get some training” on how to handle people in distress and accused police of “executing” her son.
Woods’ mother said her son had received his driver’s license, a high school diploma, and was about to start a job at UPS.
Mario Woods was shot Wednesday shortly after 4:30 p.m. in the area of Third and Keith streets, after an officer spotted someone holding a knife matching the description of a suspect in an earlier stabbing.
A number of officers responded and ordered Woods to drop the knife, using a less-lethal firearm known as a bean bag gun and pepper spray. Police said he did
Several videos have surfaced on the social media showing the shooting from various angles. In one, Woods can be seen falling to the ground and then standing up and walking toward an officer, still holding the knife but not appearing to threaten police with it, before several officers open fire.
San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen attended this evening’s vigil and offered her condolences to the family.
The vigil included a moment of silence as well as chants urging that police officers responsible for Woods death be held accountable.
In 2009, when Woods was 19, a San Francisco Superior Court judge added him and five other men to one of the city’s civil gang injunctions targeting a Hunters Point criminal street gang known as the Oakdale Mob.
But a family member today said that in the Bayview, “All you got to do is be hanging on the street to be slapped with a gang injunction,” adding that Woods “was not a gang member” and didn’t “deserve to be murdered in the street.”
Posters expressed a desire to “Heal the Hood,” “Jail all racist killer cops” and “Fire Chief Suhr.”
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News