SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Investigators were working Tuesday to identify a gunman who fatally shot a San Francisco outreach counselor in broad daylight in front of dozens of kids attending a summer camp.
Allen Calloway was leading a group of kids, including his 10-year-old son, in a dodgeball game Friday afternoon at a playground in the city’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood when a man walked up and shot him several times at close range, police said.
The 32-year-old Calloway later died at a hospital from his wounds. Police have not determined a motive for the shooting.
“This is unacceptable. Anytime there’s violence in the presence of children is callous,” San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said Tuesday. “When you have a person who is essentially gunned down in front of children, it could have a profound impact on their young lives.”
The shooting even attracted the attention of Mayor Ed Lee who tweeted Monday that he was “Deeply saddened by #SF community member shot & killed in front of our youth at Herz playground. This senseless violence is unacceptable.”
Calloway was a former gang member, but friends and colleagues say he had turned his life around following a drug conviction in 2007. He was an outreach counselor with a nonprofit, Together United Re-committed Forever.
United Playaz Executive Director Rudy Valintino, a San Francisco nonprofit that works with at-risk youth, told KTVU-TV on Monday that Calloway wanted to be involved in positively changing kids’ lives in his neighborhood.
“Losing another good brother to senseless violence — it’s heartbreaking,” he said.
San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the district where the shooting occurred, said Tuesday that the playground — which just had a ribbon cutting ceremony for its refurbishing last month — is temporarily closed as flowers and candles have since been placed at the site.
Grief counselors were being made available for the kids and Calloway’s colleagues who may have witnessed the incident, she added.
“It is absolutely mind blowing that someone could be murdered in front of 45 kids, including his own son. Where can our children be safe?” Cohen said. “This young man, a father of three kids, was doing everything we told him to do when he out of his former lifestyle.
“He was being a part of the solution, not the problem,” she added. “This shooting cuts very deep to the core.”
Esparza said there will be an increased police presence at the park despite the playground’s temporary closing.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.