According to Gittens, Keesor fired first, and a ricochet nicked his partner's ear, "perhaps" causing her to fire as well. When the smoke cleared, Sullivan was dead. No gun was ever found.
"They got flashlights," Sullivan's brother Kahlil exclaimed. "Can't they see his hands? Why didn't they ask him questions first? We may never know the truth."
One of the two officers had their flashlights on, Gittens said, but he couldn't confirm whether the illumination was enough to identify exactly what was in Sullivan's hand. Gittens told the Guardian that Fong has not yet made a decision about whether to return the officers to regular duty.
Gittens initially refused on June 9 to release the names of the officers involved to the Guardian, but the day after we asked for them, they appeared in the Chronicle. And the department has not yet responded to a Guardian request for documents associated with the shooting.
In 2004, the police commission voted unanimously to conditionally require the disclosure of incident reports to the families of officer-involved shooting victims as swiftly as possible. That change, and the request that the SFPD provide a liaison to the family, were inspired by the death of Cammerin Boyd, who was shot and killed in the spring of 2004 by SFPD officers following a car chase.
But during several subsequent commission meetings, the recommendations disappeared into the ether. And it's not the first time that proposed reforms were simply ignored by the SFPD, a fact commission vice president Theresa Sparks readily admits.
"I was a little surprised the chief released the names as fast as she did," Sparks told us.
Sparks nonetheless said that she is still troubled by the so-far inconsistent stories the department has offered to the public and the commission.
"The first story that came out was totally incorrect, [and] the chief could not tell us why the story changed," Sparks said. "It's criminal that these families sit there with no specific knowledge about what happened."
Sullivan's funeral was attended by his siblings — Kahlil, brother Sangh, and sisters T-sha Sullivan and Tasha Mosby-Greer — and a capacity crowd of Asa's friends and other family, all in Duggan's Funeral Home, right across from the Mission Police Station.
Born on Sept. 8, 1980, Asa grew up in San Francisco and attended Bay Area schools. Friends remembered his playful sense of humor. For a time recently, he stayed with his mom while working at Goodwill, commuting from San Jose at 5 a.m. and returning late.
"He made everybody laugh," Espinosa said. "He didn't deserve to be cornered in an attic and gunned down."
The family has contacted Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, who told the Guardian that during his handling of hundreds of officer-misconduct cases, he’s seen families victimized by police denied documents, explanations, and the truth.
"If there's one thing I've found, it's police agencies do a disservice to the victim's family when they don't provide information," Burris said. "When the families ask questions, they don't respond." SFBG