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San Francisco police release body camera footage of shootout with murder suspect in RV

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Annie Ma
San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco police released body-worn camera footage and the names of the seven officers involved in a shooting in the Design District on Feb. 17 that followed a homicide investigation in the Panhandle.

At a town hall on Tuesday, Police Chief Bill Scott and Southern District Captain Daryl Fong met with a small gathering of residents at the Recology Golden Gate, just down the street from where the officers fired at a homicide suspect holed up inside an RV at Alameda and De Haro streets. No one was injured in the shooting.

The suspect, Joel Armstrong, a 31-year-old transient, was wanted on suspicion of fatally shooting Milkon Isleyen and injuring Justin Shivers.

Armstrong fired two rounds at officers while refusing orders to come out of the RV. Seven officers then fired a total of 65 rounds at the RV with Armstrong inside.

The officers were identified as Glennon Griffin, Anthony Sharron, Robby Wilkom, Matthew Nazar, Gregory Buhagiar, Steven Oesterich and Christopher Cotter.

Armstrong is charged with murder, eight counts of attempted murder, carjacking, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, discharge of a firearm and receiving stolen property.

In contrast to past town halls on officer-involved shootings, the gatheringon Tuesday was small and subdued. Attendees were focused more on issues of homelessness in the neighborhood than on the officers’ conduct.

Phil Scibona, who has lived minutes away on Seventh Street for 10 years, expressed frustration with the city’s response to the rising homeless population in the area.

“We have to deal with their drug pushing,” he said. “There are sanitary problems, we have rats all over the place, and yet, all this time all anybody says is, ‘We’ll talk to another agency.’ Nothing gets done.”

Both Scott and Fong emphasized that the police department, in conjunction with other city agencies, have been working to address homelessness with a focus on the area. Scott pointed to the city’s shortage of housing and stressed that improvement would not come overnight.

“We understand the behavior problems, and we understand the criminal activity, but there is a difference between homelessness and criminal activity,” Scott said. “We’re trying to address both.”

Isleyen, Stivers and Armstrong were taking illegal narcotics together in the Panhandle, near Oak and Stanyan streets, at 6:29 pm. on Feb. 16 when the shooting occurred. According to a court document, Armstrong became irate after taking drugs and accused Stivers of raping his girlfriend, then pulled out a gun and pointed it at the two men.

Stivers and Isleyen both denied the rape accusation, but Armstrong then allegedly shot both of them. He hit Isleyen in the chest, killing him instantly, before shooting Stivers in the shoulder and fleeing, according to court documents.

Armstrong ran to Fell and Stanyan streets, where he allegedly threatened Kevin Estrada-Ruiz, a delivery truck driver for Amazon, with his gun before carjacking Estrada-Ruiz’s SUV and fleeing the scene. Estrada-Ruiz was uninjured.

Just after midnight, officers located the stolen SUV parked behind an RV about three miles away near Alameda and De Haro.

Police said they saw Armstrong inside the RV along with three other people, who were ordered to exit the vehicle. All except Armstrong complied, police said. Police said Armstrong shot at officers, prompting them to return fire.

After the gunfire ceased, Armstrong still refused to get out of the vehicle. An hour later, after a negotiator was called in, he surrendered to police and was taken into custody.

He is being held without bail.

Annie Ma is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: ama@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @anniema15

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