SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – One of the victims in the Wednesday workplace shooting at the UPS facility in San Francisco was being remembered as a loving father of three with a personality that matched his large stature.
KPIX 5 confirmed that among those killed was Hercules resident Mike Lefiti, who was known to friends “Big Mike.”
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That was how he introduced himself to Mike McDonald, a Potrero Hill area resident who was walking home from work past the UPS facility when the shooting happened.
“He said he was Mike and they called him the ‘Big Samoan,'” said McDonald. “Yeah, he was a big man and a nice guy, too.”
McDonald told KPIX 5 he found Lefiti shot in the back — face down on the pavement — and bleeding profusely.
“The paramedics wouldn’t come, because he was still shooting and the police were pretty much trying to secure the area. They weren’t coming,” said McDonald.
While waiting for paramedics to arrive, McDonald stayed to comfort him. He said Big Mike kept talking as he lay there.
“He didn’t understand why the guy shot him. He had nothing,” explained McDonald. “He knew who he was. He said he was a driver and he said he had no bad blood with him.”
McDonald said Big Mike spoke lovingly about his three children.
“He just wanted to tell them that he loves them and everything like that,” said McDonald. “And I didn’t know how to pass the message, but I guess this is God’s way of saying, ‘Hey, he loved his family and his kids.'”
UPS shooting survivor Marvin Calderon said he did not know the shooter, who made his deliveries in the Sunset. But he was friends with Lefiti. He said he didn’t want to believe Big Mike was gone.
“We called him ‘Big Mike,'” Calderon said. “I don’t know if it is real. I don’t want to believe it. He’s a big guy. A really nice guy. It’s just too much.”
Neighbor Jaime Sandoval also counted Big Mike as a friend.
“I knew him for a while now; since I was kid,” said Sandoval. “Every time I see him, he was always nice. A cool dude. You know, he had a lot of respect and love for his family and friends.”
Neighbors say Big Mike loved playing football in the streets, going to church and, above all, his family.
Lefiti left behind two sons — 18-year-old Jeremiah and 15-year-old Malaki — and his daughter, 22-year-old Noni Mercedes.
McDonald — who was walking to a nearby gas station to get a soda — said he stayed with Big Mike until he was finally ushered away by SFPD and paramedics.
“I didn’t feel that if he was going to die that he needed to die alone. He’s just a human being who deserves another human being to sit there and spend the time with them and talk to them and listen to what they have to say,” explained McDonald. “For once in my time, I shut my mouth and listened. And he said what he had to say: he loves his family, he loves his children and that he didn’t do anything to this man. I don’t understand why he shot him.”