High-profile attorney John Burris has launched a probe into the shooting of a 15-year-old boy killed during a confrontation with a South San Francisco police officer.
The family of Derrick Gaines has retained Burris -- who's been a player in other well-publicized police shooting cases -- to represent them and examine the killing, the attorney said Thursday.
Gaines' family presently has no plans to file a suit against South San Francisco police over the shooting that happened as the teen allegedly ran from an officer and pulled a gun from his waistband.
"My job is to find out what happened and help the family through the process," Burris said while standing at the shooting scene, an Arco gas station on the corner of Gellert and Westborough Boulevards.
Family and dozens of Gaines' friends waved signs saying "Justice For Derrick" at cars passing in front of the station Thursday evening. A memorial of stuffed animals, cards and flowers for the teenager continued to grow.
Police said the officer, who has not been named, stopped Gaines and another teen as they walked near the station Tuesday around 9 p.m. because they looked suspicious. During this interaction, Gaines allegedly took off running.
Burris said at this point there is no evidence the boy pulled the gun from under his clothes or pointed it at the officer. He said witnesses have indicated Gaines was tripped by the officer as he ran and was on the ground when he was shot.
South San Francisco police Chief Mike Massoni said he stands by the facts his department has released thus far. He said a full accounting of the incident will be delivered once the investigation is complete.
"Once we finish the investigation, all the facts will come out," he said.
Gaines' father, also named Derrick Gaines, said he's been frustrated in his efforts to get a clear picture of what led up to his son's death.
"I can't get no answers why they killed my son," said the elder Gaines, a San Francisco resident. "They gave me the case number and some phone numbers, but that's it."
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335 Follow him atTwitter.com/melvinreport .
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