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Downtown SF Walgreens security guard shoots shoplifter dead, police say

A shooting in Downtown San Francisco happened Thursday evening at the Walgreens at 825 Market St. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

A private security guard allegedly shot and killed a 24-year-old man at a Downtown San Francisco Walgreens on Thursday evening, police said.

Police confirmed security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, 33, was arrested on suspicion of murder on Friday.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said in an exclusive interview with The Standard that the shooting followed an alleged shoplifting incident that took a deadly turn.

Scott said investigators arrested the security guard for murder because of the way he allegedly used his weapon.

"You have to use force appropriately within the law," Scott said.

The victim was identified as Chynna Brown of San Francisco by the Chief Medical Examiner's Office. Police said Brown was transported to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries and later died.

Deputy Public Defender Adam Lipson represented Brown, a transgender man, in 2019, he said. "He grew up in San Francisco, in Bayview. He was raised by his grandmother, who had recently died," Lipson said.

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The Standard contacted Kingdom Group Protective Services Private Security, which was providing security services for the Walgreens at 825 Market St. on Friday morning. A representative for the firm said they could not speak about open investigations or personnel matters.

Anthony was charged with commercial burglary of a Pleasant Hill Target store in 2014 and petty theft, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office. Court records say those charges were dismissed in December 2018.

"We are thinking of the victim and their family during this difficult time," a Walgreens spokesperson said. "The safety of our patients, customers and team members is our top priority, and violence of any kind will not be tolerated in our stores. We take this matter seriously and are cooperating with local authorities."

People line up at the Walgreens store at 825 Market St. on Friday morning. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

The Walgreens store was open Friday morning. Staff present at the time declined to comment.

Shayari Saha, who works at a Verizon store close to where the shooting happened, said she was unsurprised it happened at Walgreens.

"Crazy stuff happens at this Walgreens all the time," Saha told The Standard on Friday morning. "It felt safer before Covid when there were more tourists around."

Together with the shooting death of 23-year-old Isaiah Thomas during an alleged botched robbery attempt on Sunday night in North Beach, Brown’s killing would raise the total number of homicides this year in San Francisco to 15, according to the SFPD.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at garrett@sfstandard.com
Michael Barba can be reached at mbarba@sfstandard.com
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at jonah@sfstandard.com
Han Li can be reached at han@sfstandard.com