Update on Officer Involved Shooting: Bullet Recovered from Harding Not From Police Firearm
The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office conducted a press conference to release preliminary findings in the investigation of an officer involved shooting that took place in the Bayview District on Saturday, July 16, 2011.
Chief Medical Examiner Amy Hart, MD announced that two gunshot wounds were identified on the body of Kenneth Harding, Jr. One gunshot wound entered and exited Harding’s left leg. A second gunshot wound entered the right side of Harding’s neck and the bullet remained in his head. This bullet was removed and released to the San Francisco Police Department Crime Lab. Medical Examiner’s staff also found a second, unfired cartridge (.380 caliber) in Harding’s right jacket pocket. This cartridge was also released to the SFPD Crime Lab.
The San Francisco Police Crime Lab conducted analysis on the bullet recovered from Mr. Harding’s head. It was determined that this bullet was of caliber .380/9mm and shared similar characteristics with the unfired cartridge located in Harding’s jacket pocket. San Francisco Police Officer’s are equipped with .40 caliber handguns. The bullet that was recovered from Mr. Harding’s head could not have been fired by police officers. Based upon evidence known at this time including: officer and witness statements that Harding shot at the police officers, Shot Spotter data, video tape evidence that depicts a firearm at the scene that was subsequently taken and the location of gunshot residue on Harding’s right hand, it appears that Mr. Harding’s head wound was self inflicted. It is unknown if Harding’s injury was intentional or accidental.
It should be noted that the firearm recovered early on in this investigation is of .45 caliber. It is not consistent with the .380/9mm evidence recovered from Harding’s body and could not have fired the shot that wounded Harding. The Police Department believes that the weapon used by Harding is still outstanding and requests assistance from the public in recovering this firearm as well as the cell phone and bullet casings that were removed from the scene. The Police Department is offering a $1,000.00 reward for the return of the .380 caliber firearm picked up from the scene. Anyone with information can call the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip at “TIP411”