San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has charged a San Francisco man in a shooting that killed a 31-year-old father of six in the Tenderloin.
Randall Evans, 43, appeared in court Thursday and pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to prosecutors.
Evans allegedly shot and killed Justin Smith at 6:11 p.m. July 21 at Golden Gate Avenue and Hyde Street, San Francisco police said. After officers arrived at the scene, they found Smith with gunshot wounds and gave him medical aid, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Evans was arrested on Aug. 21, a month after the killing, according to county jail records. He is still in jail.
Evans is due in court again on Sept. 8 for a preliminary hearing.
Jenkins offered her condolences to the victim’s loved ones in a Thursday news release.
Justin’s younger brother, Jamal Smith, and his older sister, Tasha Smith, said the unexpected death has forced them to pick up the pieces of a situation they are still processing.
“I got the news a few hours after what happened,” Tasha told The Standard by phone.
A family friend who works for Urban Alchemy and was near the scene of the incident called her while she was at dinner with her kids, she said. The friend often kept tabs on Justin for her since the two had grown apart.
“It just so happened that he called, and part of me knew,” she said through tears. “He said, ‘I hate to be telling you this over the phone,’ and I asked him, ‘Is my brother dead?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’”
According to the siblings, Justin was the third oldest of 10 siblings and dealt with personal difficulties dating back to his childhood, cycling in and out of foster care.
“We grew up in San Bruno and were with our grandma, but when she passed away, we went to foster care in Vacaville for a minute before being taken in by our auntie in Hunters Point,” Jamal said.
According to Tasha, Justin had grown estranged from his family, often saying he felt like they weren’t there for him.
“There were things that happened to us in foster care that no child should go through,” she said, describing her role as the older sister always taking care of her younger siblings. “The system didn’t help us in any way, shape or form. Some people just get older and don’t bounce back from that.”
The siblings said Justin lived with his girlfriend on Leavenworth Street in the Tenderloin—not far from where he was shot.
A family friend who happened to get footage of the shooting shared it with the siblings, they said. The Standard has reviewed the video footage but is choosing not to publish it due to the violent nature of its contents.
“He got into an altercation with somebody, and that person had someone with them, so it looked like they tried to jump him,” Jamal said.
The footage shows Justin getting into a fight with someone on Golden Gate Avenue and then walking away. The video then shows the other person scurrying up to Jamal before pulling out a weapon and shooting him from behind.
Justin then collapsed at the corner of the intersection before bystanders called for medical attention.
“He was an older version of me,” Jamal said, remembering their youth together playing with Godzilla toys and how he was always approachable. “He was lovable and appreciated everything. They just took a whole part of me. I don’t even feel like myself.”
Jamal said he prepared his older brother for his Aug. 12 wake at the funeral home, cutting his hair, getting him into his suit and grooming him.
“It was hard,” he said. “Just looking at him, all I saw was me. Our faces look similar. … He died alone. That’s the only thing that doesn’t sit right with me."
Jamal said he started a GoFundMe campaign in order to cover the costs of Justin's funeral and to support his brother's six children.
Joel Umanzor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org