Man on bike killed in S.F.'s Richmond District
Jaxon Van Derbeken,Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writers
Thursday, September 18, 2008
(09-17) 16:46 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Jordan McCay was just trying to get back home in San Francisco after a long day at work in Berkeley and an evening seeing off a friend traveling to Asia.
He almost made it but came up two blocks short.
The 23-year-old went from his job at a film production outfit in Berkeley on Tuesday night to say good-bye to a friend in Oakland who was leaving for Asia the next day. McCay boarded BART to San Francisco, then pedaled his bicycle across town to the Richmond District by early Wednesday.
In that normally peaceful neighborhood - just two blocks from his home - he was confronted by two men on the street. After an argument, someone shot and killed him at 1:40 a.m. near the corner of 15th Avenue and Cabrillo Street, police said.
"He was coming home, coming down the street - we really don't know what happened," said Lt. Mike Stasko of the San Francisco homicide detail.
The killer left behind the victim's bike - worth as much of $1,000 - and his backpack. "Everything was still there," Stasko said.
Mark Pardini, 38, who lives on 15th Avenue, said he heard "pretty angry voices going back and forth" for a few seconds before hearing gunfire. "It was quick ... probably like 15 seconds" he said, but added he couldn't quite hear what was being said.
"Obviously, they were angry. And then I heard a gunshot and then, about five to 10 seconds later, I heard a car driving away."
Mortally wounded, McKay dropped his bicycle in the street and knocked on doors for help before collapsing outside a set of flats on Cabrillo, police and residents said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police have no description of assailants, investigators said.
McKay's father, Matthew, said his son had recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in economics and a minor in film. He worked for a while as a busboy at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, then got an internship at Assemble, a post-production company in Berkeley. He said his son was working on computer modeling and post-production animation for an upcoming Bruce Willis film.
"He was just a couple blocks from home," McKay said. "It seems like, nobody knows for sure, but he was in this fight with two guys. They must have jumped him. One of them pulled out a gun and shot him."
He was living with his girlfriend, whom he met in high school, his father said.
"He was a good guy, he went to school, worked hard. He had a lot of great friends and was just kind of on his way in his career," he said.
"How do you sum up a life? He had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a determined, creative person. He really wanted to get skilled and was learning a lot of different things."
McKay said police were not optimistic about the chances of solving his son's slaying.
"They don't have any eyewitnesses who could identify them - they only saw distant shapes, struggling," the father said he was told.
The killing shocked residents of the neighborhood.
"It's very safe. Everyone on the blocks knows everybody," said Denise Bottarini, who has lived on Cabrillo for 10 years. "It shocks me that it happened in our neighborhood."
Pardini said the corner of 15th and Cabrillo has seen its share of drivers "doing doughnuts," or driving recklessly in circles.
Residents walked to the corner, inspected the scene and shook their heads.
Raymond Villaseñor, a contractor remodeling a three-story apartment building on the corner, said 15th Avenue is a "nice, quiet little street with not a lot of commotion.
"It gets you to think," he said. "You never know when your whole life is going to turn around. You think everything is safe. I've even been leaving my truck unlocked. I'm not going to do that any more."
Two doors away, resident Tai Chan said he "can't believe it happened here. It's supposed to be a good neighborhood."