No one coordinated the efforts to enable the dispatch of negotiators, which would have been consistent with San Francisco Police Department General Order 8.02 Hostage and Barricaded Suspect Incidents."
Officers in the attic that night say Sullivan refused recurring instructions to show his hands and acted aggressively. They testified that he threatened violent resistance, telling them, "I'm not going back to jail," "Shoot me, I'm not coming out of here," and "Are you ready to earn your medal?" They say leaving the attic and taking their attention off Sullivan would have made them vulnerable.
The officers were also unaware at the time that Sullivan had a no-bail arrest warrant. There's still a dispute today over what grounds the officers had at the time to effect an arrest of Sullivan, or why they believed there was sufficient cause to enter the apartment.
Alvis, a six-year veteran of the force, did not return a message left at her home. A police spokesperson, Sgt. Wilfred Williams, confirmed for the Guardian that officers Keesor and Alvis are still employed by the department but he couldn't provide any additional details, calling them personnel-related. He also couldn't comment on pending litigation.
Several local agencies conduct parallel investigations when a subject is killed by police officers, including the department's homicide and internal affairs units, the District Attorney's Office, and if prompted, the Office of Citizen Complaints, an independent body that responds to allegations made by civilians of excessive force and other police misconduct.
Those findings in the Sullivan killing had not been available previously under the California Public Records Act and local sunshine laws due in part to a state Supreme Court ruling issued in late 2006 that blocks an array of law enforcement records from disclosure, including those stemming from disciplinary investigations.
A "DRUG HOUSE?"
Officer Morgado arrived at the townhouse address of 2 Garces Drive at Parkmerced, near San Francisco State University, around 8:40 p.m. June 6 after a neighbor called to report that the front door was swinging open and that it was a possible "drug house."
The unit hadn't exactly hosted any church youth groups in recent months. Two men on the lease had supposedly given notice to move out the prior winter but hadn't left, and management was charging them month-to-month.
Kathleen Espinoza, Asa's mother, told the Guardian her son was struggling to find a place to stay and went to 2 Garces after she moved to Los Angeles in search of a lower cost of living.
Friends and acquaintances drifted in and out of the townhouse; some frequently smoked pot and meth, according to the deposition of one man who stayed there. The neighbors complained to police. One tenant testified that just before the shooting, he fought with another Parkmerced resident who occasionally came around the townhouse. The man allegedly hurled a bicycle at him, slicing open his elbow. A white shirt was used to soak up the gushing blood and police who saw it hanging near the front door relied on the stained garment to justify entering the apartment to check on the welfare of the people inside.
As back-up units arrived, Sullivan's friend, Jason Martin, was discovered in a locked second-floor bedroom and placed in handcuffs. Keesor heard shuffling coming from above them and says he saw debris flaking from a ceiling entrance to the attic.
Three officers climbed into the cramped, pitch-black space before drawing their guns on Sullivan. Only their flashlights enabled them to see the darkly clothed man who appeared to be hiding amid the blown-in insulation and between a pair of two-by-fours.
"Let's give the dog a nice bite on this guy," one officer said over the radio after a K-9 unit was called.