'Problem with AK-47s is they explode in the abdomen. Basically, a bomb went off in his tummy.'
By G.W. Schulz
The Chronicle on Sunday launched its lengthy four-part series on the San Francisco General Hospital with the threaded narrative of a 14-year-old boy who was shot in his mid-section by an assault rifle last spring and appeared at the trauma center with seemingly little hope of remaining alive.
In 2001, the boy’s father had been killed by gunfire just a short distance away in the Hunters Point housing project where they lived. After a brief stint in juvenile hall for general teen trouble following his dad’s killing, the Chron’s Mike Weiss reported, the boy’s behavior had begun to improve before he, too, was gunned down for reportedly tossing a water balloon at a friend that accidentally splashed the wrong person.
Weiss then recounts in stunning detail what it took for SF General to put the boy’s guts back together – he barely managed to survive after several surgeries.
The Chron quotes a surgeon:
"'Problem with AK-47s is they explode in the abdomen. Basically, a bomb went off in his tummy.'"
The photo leading the Chron's story that day depicted the boy splayed out on a gurney, naked, with an oxygen mask attached to his face. The intent of the Chron’s pieces was to focus on life inside the nationally recognized hospital and the resources it takes to sustain the city’s only trauma center. The names of both the boy and his father are not revealed by the paper.
Importantly, however, the story mentioned something else about the incident:
“No one has been arrested for shooting either father or son.”
But law-enforcement officials do apparently have a damn good idea who killed the boy’s father, a fact unveiled by the SF Weekly five months before the Chron launched its series on Sunday.
In a July cover feature, A.C. Thompson described the ugly underbelly of multi-agency gang investigations and prosecutions, one of which led in 2002 to 22 felony counts being leveled at seven purported members of the Westmob gang, known for presiding over an area that includes the junction at Westpoint and Middlepoint roads.
In order to get those felony counts, however, the collaborative effort required offering some unsavory characters severely reduced sentences in exchange for their help in jailing what were regarded at the time as the most valuable targets.
“In short, the program wound up benefiting the very people it was supposed to stop."
Thompson writes that a figure from the Big Block gang, known as a long-time rival to the Westmob with nearby turf virtually guaranteeing repeated clashes, pled guilty in 2004 to illegally possessing a 9 mm pistol and received just 24 months after cooperating with the government. Court documents Thompson reviewed that were filed by prosecutors showed that the man, identified by the paper under the pseudonym John Jones, participated in the drive-by slaying of Tyrone "Bump" Laury.
Laury’s son was the 14-year-old boy who appeared on the front page of the Chronicle on Sunday begging General's chief of medicine to tell him whether he’d live or die.
From Thompson’s story:
“According to the legal briefs, Jones ‘admitted his own and the others’ involvement in Laury’s murder – identifying himself as the driver’ and two other people ‘as the shooters.’ Prosecutors – at either the federal or local level – have yet to charge anyone for Laury’s murder.”