SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A man who was thought to have died from an officer-involved shooting in San Francisco last weekend appears instead to have been killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, investigators revealed Thursday.

Kenneth Harding Jr., a 19-year-old Seattle resident, allegedly ran from officers who had attempted to detain him Saturday 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.

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KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

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.

Many questions still remain, however, about what happened out in the Bayview that day.

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 new ballistic evidence has shown that not to be the case.

Biel said police are still seeking the man who picked up the gun, as well as the firearm, and said the department is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone with information that will help to recover the gun.

Harding was considered a person of interest in a shooting in Seattle last week that killed a 19-year-old pregnant woman and injured three other people. Biel said he did not know whether the weapon used in that shooting was consistent with the .380-caliber bullets found in the San Francisco case.

Harding was also shot in the leg, Hart said, but the bullet passed through and has not been recovered, so investigators do not know whether that wound was from a shot by the officers.

The shooting has triggered several protests around the city since last weekend, including one Tuesday that led to 45 people being arrested.

Critics of the shooting have said the video footage shows Harding did not receive medical treatment immediately after the shooting despite several officers being in the area, and some have even questioned whether he had a gun or fired it at police.

President of NAACP Amos Brown is calling for calm.

“We need another party to review this whole mess,” Brown said in a phone interview with KCBS. “And it may come to the point of the FBI, US Marshall, and the Justice Department getting involved.”

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

At a town hall meeting held at the Bayview Opera House on Wednesday, police Chief Greg Suhr tried to address about 300 community members but was shouted down by the angry crowd and the meeting was stopped early.

Biel said Thursday, “I understand how the community feels. However, our investigation is based on total facts.”

He said anyone with information in the case is encouraged to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or the homicide detail at (415) 553-1145.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (27)
  1. SF says:


    The SFPD is having a very tough job keeping our City and it’s law abiding Citizens and Tourists safe, sure there are some bad cops but there are plenty of good COPS who risks their lives to protect us every second of the day.

  2. Ben says:

    I guess we’re slightly better off with cops who can’t shoot straight vs. being trigger happy. But then, maybe they can’t shoot straight AND they’re trigger happy.

  3. Ron says:

    This is what happens when u shoot backwards over your shoulder, while u are running. Doesnt sound like a suicide maybe a fatal mistake by the thug. Regardless I am glad no Officers were injured and this POS is long gonners !

  4. CMMV says:

    so i bet those people rioting in SF yesterday feel pretty stupid when they find out.
    let the judicial system do it’s job. it’s not perfect but it’s the best in the world.

    1. Seriously says:

      I’m sure they will claim the evidence was tampered with/planted.

      1. Bal T'san Chin says:

        Yeah, those idiots won’t let the facts get in the way of their pre-conceived notions.

  5. asdf says:

    LOL, good riddance.

  6. Mark D. says:

    The propblem with truly stupid people is that they never feel stupid. They will come up with another reason to blame the police, such as the police should have disarmed the poor man before he had a chance to shoot himself. The riots will continue and the stupid people will continue to believe they are smart.

    1. Mark D. says:

      And I did not misspell “problem” I just had a typo. Not stupid, just keyboard clumsy.

    2. xyz says:

      Some girl already commented on this article’s link on this stations facebook page and she said that the police made it up so that “people wouldn’t go off on them”

      that is just stupid.

  7. Sheneequa says:

    Maybe he tried to fire like a typical gang-banger, you know gun on its side! It would be both cool and stereotypical!

  8. hip, hip, hooray! says:

    He’s dead and that’s all that matters.

  9. Seeker says:

    Another dead thug…what a loss to society. I thank God for the SFPD.

  10. Kool says:

    It usually costs at least $30,000 US dollars to keep each thug in jail. Well, do your math if we have to keep thousands and thousand of them for the next 20 or 30 and longer. No wonder this state is running out of money…

  11. Zack Debarco says:

    If I was balck I would be just cringing about this latest fiasco. Just when our society is becoming less color blind, idiots are re enforcing the old stereotypes!!
    Knee jerk anything always prooves you stupid. A thoughtful discourse about any topic, no matter how great is always better for everyone than this juvenile acting out. By the way, where is John Burris ESQ in all this? The “Rev”
    Jessie Jackson will probably fly in over the weekend, after stopping in Vegas!

  12. tn says:

    There they go again. Rioting based on “feeling” and not fact; interpretation, not evidence. Brothers kill each other and the community says it has to end. But anytime SFPD (or OPD) are involved, knee-jerk reaction by the uneducated and unintelligent say “police brutality.” Make up your minds people. Act based on fact, not instinct; especially if your instincts are bad to begin with.

  13. Kyle says:

    Yep. This thug knew this would be his last offense so he was so sick to make it look like our officers did it. I hope he rots in HE(**(*!!

  14. Law Obeying Citizen says:

    I would like any african to please tell me why they do not riot and make a big stink when black on black crimes happens? That happens EVERYDAY in towns like Oakland and Richmond. They only make a big stink when some thug get’s his from a law officer. Why are they not raising their children to be decent human beings? Why do they justify the thugs and gangs? ALL the parents along with the black leaders are at fault. The parents can easily stop all the violance but they just seem to not care.

    1. Name says:

      These black citizens are keeping racism alive. They use a situation like this ( A JUSTIFIED POLICE KILLING) to keep using the Race Card.. They only look at the races in situations like this and they don’t look at the facts. That is why they never protest when it is a black on black murder, but when it is good law abiding officers, they like to make it into a huge deal about racism and a bad cops etc. If these black people really want to change their community, and kill racism then they should look at the facts before ruining their city by “Protesting.”

      And By The Way, I Know That Not All Black People Are Like This. Only Some Are, And They Are The Ones Keeping Racism Alive.

      1. FunnyWorld says:

        It’s actually about money… Black on black thugs that kill eachother don’t have money for the the other family to sue for. For example; Oscar Grant, a person who was on probation for asualt with a deadly weapon and fighting, being out past his probation curfue and drunk. Grant has been living with his grandmother for over 15 years because his real parents were unfit to care for him due to drug addiction. Then all of te sudden oscar’s parents sue BART Pd for the loss of their son and win… Because it’s all about the money…

  15. Shaniqua kasisha Jackson says:

    I be offended by da coment above. I be rasin 11 chidlrens and da all good childrens. they be getin in truble wit the po po but it be the po po’s fault. they be sayin that my childrens got drugs and guns and they be robbin liquore stores in the hood. that be not rigt because my lil wayne and jamal be home all day and nigt chillin wit big momma. ya’ll be straight trippin!

    1. LOL says:

      Your first mistake is naming your kid lil Wayne. LOL

      Second Mistake is blaming the Po Po (AKA POLICE) for your kids illegal activity.

      Third Mistake is that I don’t believe that this is a real comment.

      1. sharifa says:

        may not be real but I sure enjoyed it!

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