S.F. father, son seek justice for suspected robber, end up in jail
It first appeared to be an all-too-typical drive-by shooting in San Francisco's troubled Western Addition - distinguished only because it was witnessed by a member of the city's Board of Supervisors.
But police now say the incident was far darker: an extreme case of vigilante vengeance involving a father and his 16-year-old son against a supposed street robber blamed for holding up the youth on the way to school.
The 39-year-old father, after being summoned to the scene by his son, allegedly ran over the suspected robber in the family car and then urged his son to shoot the prone man in the street. Authorities say he did. Somehow, the man survived. Both father and son now face attempted murder charges.
"It's kind of a little bit of an overview of how things are going on out there - the way these kids are running amok," says Inspector Robert McMillan of the police gang task force. "When you do have a father figure involved, and he is encouraging them to do these things, it's pretty sad."
On the morning of Aug. 31, the son of Acie Parnell Green was on foot in the Western Addition, making his way to Civic Center Secondary School. He never got there.
Ladaris Greer, 19, was among a group of men the boy would later tell police robbed him of a gold chain as he walked that morning, McMillan said. The robbery, according to the father's attorney, occurred at Gough and McAllister streets.
According to McMillan, the boy used a cell phone to summon his father, who drove to the area with his wife, armed with weapons, at about 9 a.m.
McMillan said the son got into the family car and eventually pointed out Greer among a group of men at Grove and Fillmore streets.
At that point, according to the inspector, the son and mother got out of the car, and the father sped up Grove toward Alamo Square. "There, we have a lot of people who want to get involved, and we get a lot of people seeing what happened," McMillan said.
Meanwhile, the son ran up the street, trailing his father and Greer. Witnesses soon heard gunfire. At Steiner and Fulton streets, Greer fell down in the crosswalk. It is unclear if he had been shot, had collapsed of exhaustion or had just fallen.
Green drove at Greer, who then tried to commandeer a motorcycle to flee, only to be knocked to the ground by Green's car, McMillan said. Police are still searching for the motorcyclist, who managed to ride away.
Green later told police he had run over Greer by mistake after his transmission got stuck. He said he got out and demanded to know where his son's gold chain was but denied urging anyone to open fire or seeing anyone get shot. While he admitted hitting Greer three times as he drove - both with Greer on the motorcycle and on the ground - he insisted it was not intentional.
"All accounts of every witness out there said it was intentional," McMillan said.
Witnesses told police that the father, now out of the car and standing on the street over the injured man, urged his son to shoot Greer as he lay on the ground, helpless with a crushed pelvis, according to the victim's account to McMillan. "He said 'finish him off,' and the son shot him two or three times," McMillan said.
Greer, who was due in court that morning to answer to a gun charge, was critically injured in the attack. "He was hanging by a thread for awhile," McMillan said. It is unclear whether he will be able to walk again.
Green abandoned the car after he crashed into a parked vehicle. He ran off but was quickly arrested, in part with the help of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who had been jogging in the area when the son and mother got out of the car and the father drove off after Greer.
Mirkarimi got in the patrol car and helped police as they sought the gunman.
Two weapons were recovered later from the scene. The son and his mother went to the police station that night to make a statement, and the son was later taken to Juvenile Hall.
Green, who is in custody on $500,000 bail, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault, hit-and-run driving, weapons possession and cocaine possession in the case. He has prior felony convictions for grand theft from a person, domestic violence and cocaine possession for sale, records show. His last conviction was in 1993.
Green's attorney, deputy public defender Stephen Rosen, doesn't dispute his client's involvement, just the characterization of it as a crime.
"He was having trouble with the gear box - he didn't mean to hit that person," Rosen said.
"This is a case of a father attempting to protect his son by attempting to capture and bring to justice people who had robbed the young man," Rosen said. "He and the son were attempting to rectify the situation."
The lawyer predicted that once the facts are told in court, Green and his son will be vindicated. "I believe when all the evidence will come out, it will show that one of the persons who robbed Acie's son earlier that day is actually responsible for the shooting on the street."
He added that there is evidence the family car was shot at by a man in a black hooded shirt that morning.
The 16-year-old has been charged in juvenile court with attempted murder and other crimes. His attorney, George Lazarus, declined to comment.
Prosecutors will ask a judge to rule on whether he should be tried as an adult.
The mother has not been charged in the case. Prosecutors would not respond to the defense attorney's remarks, saying the charges they have filed speak for themselves.
"We'll just have to see how the facts come out," Assistant District Attorney Pam Pecora Hansen said.