A San Francisco man with a criminal past who had reformed his ways in recent years was shot to death in front of his 10-year-old son and dozens of other children while playing dodgeball, according to police and local media reports.
“This wasn’t a robbery. This was an execution,” said San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza. “Regardless of anyone’s background or history, any homicide is unacceptable. Anyone who guns down a victim in broad daylight in front of children in a callous act will be held accountable.”
Allen Calloway, 32, had shown up early to work on Friday specifically so he could play dodgeball with the children he supervised as a youth counselor at Together United Recommitted Forever (TURF), an outreach program in a tough part of the Bay Area city, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
In the middle of the day at Herz Playground in Visitacion Valley, with some 60 children and adults present, police say a gunman walked directly up to the summer camp counselor and opened fire, fatally striking him multiple times. The gunman didn’t have any apparent motive for the attack and didn’t take anything off of Calloway after the shooting, Esparza said.
The incident has shaken a neighborhood that was working to move past its gang-ridden reputation, community organizers told local media. The playground had just been refurbished and was the scene of a ribbon-cutting recognizing the accomplishment last month, CBS San Francisco reported.
Calloway grew up in the neighborhood and his story of rehabilitation was well known, according to the Chronicle.
“He’d turned his life around. He was good with kids, all kids,” resident Shonnece Hill told KTVU. “He loved to smile, laugh and all that.”
Though Calloway had a gang past – the San Francisco city attorney’s office listed him in a 2010 gang injunction – he had been working with TURF for more than two years and had recently been promoted, the Chronicle reported.
Grief counselors were brought in to work with the witnesses and the city has closed the park for two weeks, authorities said.
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