2011-07-19 "Story changing rapidly about South Seattle shooting, ‘person of interest’" by Dave Workman, Seattle Gun Rights Examiner
Faster than one can crank out a newspaper, the details surrounding the fatal shooting of a so-called “person of interest” in a South Seattle homicide by San Francisco police over the weekend are changing, leaving one to ponder whether the dead man, Kenneth Wade Harding, had any connection to the slaying of Tanaya Gilbert last week.
The Seattle Times [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015648781_shooting19m.html], on-line Seattle Post-Intelligencer [http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/SF-police-Deceased-shooter-s-gun-was-taken-from-1471744.php] (picking up a story from the San Francisco Chronicle), KIRO 7 Eyewitness News and a news blog on the KQED website reveal some startling new details about the Gilbert slaying and the subsequent killing of Harding hundreds of miles away in a different state.
Among the more significant was this:
"Gilbert was a former Renton High School student who turned 19 a week ago, family members said. Relatives believed that Gilbert was seven weeks pregnant. But the King County Medical Examiner's office told Gilbert's mother her daughter wasn't..."—Seattle Times
Another twist in the case appears in the Chronicle story picked up this morning by the Post-Intelligencer:
"A pistol that San Francisco police believe Kenneth Wade Harding may have used before being shot to death here Saturday was found at another location. But police in San Francisco says it is a different caliber from the one used to kill 19-year-old Tanaya Gilbert a week ago in Seattle."—San Francisco Chronicle
When this column spoke yesterday with Seattle police, they made no official connection between the two incidents, and would not even confirm whether San Francisco investigators were talking to police detectives here. That has changed, with this morning’s Seattle Times report that detectives here are “working on the investigation with San Francisco police…”
Every published report has Harding running from a pair of police officers who were checking for fare violations on a rapid transit platform. Law enforcement sources not involved in either investigation immediately raised some questions: Why would Harding, who reportedly was in violation of his parole here earlier this year by being in California, suddenly run from the police over an apparent transit fare evasion? Why would he open fire on the police, as alleged?
Was he fearful of being arrested for being a felon in possession of a gun?
Or was there another reason?
Why was he in California at all? Had he fled there for some reason?
For the record, as the Seattle Times is reporting this morning:
"No evidence has been disclosed by law-enforcement officials that directly links Harding to the Seattle shootings."
This all must be sorted out, but what is known is that at age 19, Harding had already spent time in prison, serving a year at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center for “attempted promoting of commercial sexual abuse” of a young teenage girl. Clallam Bay is the same facility from which Tacoma Mall shooter Dominick Maldonado recently tried to escape, as this column reported [http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-seattle/did-tacoma-mall-gunman-cheat-death-again-prison-break-attempt].
KIRO is reporting that:
"Harding met with his community corrections officer at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 10 hours before a gunman fired on a group of teenagers in South Seattle, killing 19-year-old Tanaya Gilbert and wounding three others."—KIRO 7 Eyewitness News
And as this column noted yesterday [http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-seattle/in-seattle-they-re-thanking-the-san-francisco-police-for-good-marksmanship], the gun allegedly carried by Harding during the shootout in San Francisco was grabbed by someone at the scene. Police later recovered it thanks to an informant. Now the San Francisco Chronicle and Post-Intelligencer report that somebody even grabbed all but one of the spent shell casings from the San Francisco shooting scene.
One can make a couple of presumptions about that. Either the crowd wanted keepsakes, or somebody was trying to make this look like the shooting of an unarmed man. That’s tampering with evidence, and it is a crime everywhere.
This story is far from an ending, and it already is assured the ending will not be happy.