UPDATE 2 12:08 p.m., 7-25-11: San Francisco Police now believe Harding shot himself. UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: Seattle Police homicide detectives confirm that Kenneth Harding was indeed a "person of interest" in the murder of Tanaya Gilbert.
UPDATE 3 9:44 p.m., 7-29-11: SFPD has located Harding's pistol. Seattle police have arrested Ondrell Harding, Kenneth's older brother, in connection with the murder of 51-year-old Anthony Matthews.
UPDATE 2 12:08 p.m., 7-25-11: San Francisco Police now believe Harding shot himself.
UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: Seattle Police homicide detectives confirm that Kenneth Harding was indeed a "person of interest" in the murder of Tanaya Gilbert.
Kenneth Harding made a fatal mistake when he didn't pay his metro fare. At about 4:45 p.m. on Saturday in south San Francisco's gritty Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, the 19-year-old Harding was stopped for questioning by two police officers patrolling a light-rail platform as part of a "violence-reduction effort," according to numerous reports. When the cops asked to see proof of payment, Harding drew a handgun from his waistband and took off running. The police gave chase and Harding reportedly began firing wildly over his shoulder at them. The San Francisco cops eventually caught up and put five bullets into Harding, who then bled to death on the sidewalk.
As Harding lay dying in a pool of his own blood, surrounded by cops with their guns drawn, an angry mob gathered round. Bayview-Hunters Point is a predominantly African-American neighborhood, and, like much of the Bay Area, just two years removed from the Oscar Grant tragedy, there is serious animosity toward police, especially when fatal use of force is involved.
An amateur video captured the scene on the 200 block of South Cashmere Street as irate onlookers taunted the cops and demanded answers about the killing they just witnessed. A few snippets audible on the footage:
"What the fuck man, what you shoot him for?! He was running away!"
"Where the gun at?! Where's the gun?!"
"You shot him in the back!"
"He dead. That's fucked up. The police shot him and they gonna get away with this shit. Five fucking times. Why they got to shoot him five fucking times?"
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco police chief Greg Suhr says that Harding was wanted as "a person of interest" by Seattle police in last week's tragic slaying of 19-year-old Tanaya Gilbert and her unborn child in south Seattle. A 16-year-old was also wounded in that incident, as were a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy sitting on the hood of a nearby car.
Seattle Police have not yet confirmed that Harding was a suspect, according to The Seattle Times, but Gilbert's family was reportedly notified by police about the shooting Saturday in San Francisco.
Harding was on parole for two felony convictions for promoting prostitution and assault. San Francisco Police say the gun Harding fired was picked up off the street and disappeared in the moments after the chase. Later that night, however, they recovered a .45 caliber pistol believed to have been Harding's.
Here's the video, published yesterday by WorldStarHipHop.com: