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Criminal Justice

28-Year-Old Woman Killed in Bayview Was in ‘Wrong Place at the Wrong Time,’ Family Says

Written by Jonah Owen LambPublished Sep. 08, 2022 • 7:00am
Diamond Webb, 14, right, and her aunt Nicole Powell, 52, sit quietly during an interview with The Standard at Webb's mother's home in Brisbane, Calif. on September 7, 2022. On Sunday night, Webb's older sister Bonnie Franklin, 28, was killed during a shooting in the Bayview District. | Kori Suzuki for The Standard

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The heat had only just begun to dissipate Sunday evening when Bonnie Franklin finished catering the birthday of a 2-year-old family member in Half Moon Bay. Everyone was carpooling back to their homes in and around San Francisco, and Franklin piled a few of them into her red Kia and headed to the Bayview to drop them off. 

When she stopped at their destination on the 1000 block of Oakdale Avenue in Hunters Point with her two passengers—a female and a male—bullets began to fly. 

Both Franklin and her female passenger were hit, according to the San Francisco Police Department. When officers arrived at 10:44 p.m., they say the female passenger was seriously wounded and Franklin was dead. 

She was 28.

Sunday’s shooting marked the city’s 34th homicide of 2022 and the ninth in Bayview-Hunters Point.  

A portrait of Bonnie Franklin, 28, who was killed in a shooting in the Bayview neighborhood during the Labor Day weekend in 2022. | Courtesy Dore Studio

The district in southeastern San Francisco has long been plagued by gun violence—and disproportionately so compared to the rest of the city. Just five days shy of two years ago, on Sept. 9, 2020, a 29-year-old named Omar Williams was gunned down on the same block

“This senseless violence has got to stop,” Franklin’s mother Heidi Bluford told The Standard a few days after her daughter’s killing. “My child has been taken from me and it’s more than I can bear.”

SFPD Chief Bill Scott told the San Francisco Police Commission Wednesday night that three of four suspects opened fire on a group of people in a parking lot Sunday and killed one person and hit another.

A third person who took themselves to the hospital after the incident may have also been hurt by the gunfire, the chief added. 

Bayview Park is pictured from near Heidi Bluford’s home in Brisbane, Calif. on September 7, 2022. On Sunday night, Bluford’s daughter Bonnie Franklin was killed during a shooting in the Bayview District. | Kori Suzuki for The Standard

Scott said he’s now worried about retaliation perpetuating the cycle of violence. 

Supervisor Shaman Walton, who represents the district, said he had no details about what caused the violence that claimed a young woman’s life over the weekend. 

“I can say,” he added, “that this is another tragedy that could have been avoided with funding prevention strategies.”

‘She Was Totally Innocent’

As soon as the shooting happened, the family rushed to the scene. 

Franklin’s sister, Bernadine Franklin, said she got a phone call from a cousin with the news and then called her mother.

Heidi Bluford, 44, center, her sister Nicole Powell, 52, left, and her daughter Diamond Webb, 14, right, sit at Bluford’s home in Brisbane, Calif. during an interview with The Standard on September 7, 2022. On Sunday night, Bonnie Franklin – Bluford’s 28-year-old daughter – was killed during a shooting in the Bayview District. | Kori Suzuki for The Standard

Nicole Powell, Franklin’s aunt, said she heard the sirens and saw police cars from her home on the hill in Brisbane before she got the call that something happened to Franklin. She, too, rushed to Oakdale Avenue. 

When they showed up, they found Franklin’s car surrounded by officers, broken glass and shell casings. 

Huge bullet holes had torn through the car door’s metal, Franklin’s family said. There were so many bullet holes in the driver’s side of the little red Kia that it wouldn’t open. 

“It’s just still shocking,” 24-year-old Bernadine Franklin said.

“She was totally innocent,” Powell added. 

It was, she said, a case of being in “the wrong place at the wrong time.”

‘A Caring Spirit’

Bonnie Franklin and her two younger sisters were born in the city and raised in Bayview by a single mom employed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Their mother’s large family—including her 15 siblings—was never far.

“It was always family and fun since they were babies,” Bluford recounted.

A photo of Bonnie Franklin, 28, who was killed in a shooting in the Bayview neighborhood during the Labor Day weekend in 2022. | Courtesy Dore Studio

Franklin, who graduated from City Arts and Tech High School in 2012, had a passion for cooking, her mother continued. 

As a young child, Franklin would stand beside Bluford in the kitchen to watch her mom cook. Bluford said she kept some of her culinary secrets to herself—at least until recently, when she finally shared her secret cupcake recipe with her daughter. 

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“She loved food and taking pictures of food,” Powell said of her late niece. “She had a caring spirit.” 

Franklin had a wide-ranging palate and would take her youngest sister, 14-year-old Diamond Webb, to foodie events.

“She would try anything,” Diamond said.

‘SF Don’t Want Us Anymore’

Sisters Powell and Bluford said they moved out of San Francisco to nearby Brisbane because they felt like the city doesn’t care about what happens to working class Black people.

Particularly in Bayview, they said: a place that’s been historically overlooked, under-invested and, of late, increasingly dangerous. 

Heidi Bluford, 44, rests her chin against her hand during an interview with The Standard at Bluford’s home in Brisbane, Calif. on September 7, 2022. On Sunday night, Bluford’s 28-year-old daughter Bonnie Franklin was killed during a shooting in the Bayview District. | Kori Suzuki for The Standard

“I told my family, ‘It’s time for you to leave because SF don’t want us anymore,’” Powell said. 

Of the powers that be, she said, “they don’t care about brown and Black lives.

“A lot of the killings they don’t even put on the news.” 

Bluford echoed her sister’s sentiment, saying authorities have never cared enough to actually stop the violence. 

“It’s just how it’s always been,” she lamented. “It’s like any inner city you go to: nothing’s ever solved.”

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct street name for Oakdale Avenue.

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Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at [email protected]




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