Pubdate: Tue, 05 Jun 2007
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Page: C - 2
Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Jaxon Van Derbeken


Weekend Killings Reflect Tenderloin, Soma Turf Battle

San Francisco police believe that two weekend homicides were part of 
a war between drug dealers from Oakland and Richmond over turf in the 
city's Tenderloin and South of Market areas.

On Monday, police released a still photo of a masked man they say 
committed the execution-style slaying on Market Street early Sunday 
of Ernest Johnson, 29, of Oakland. Johnson, they say, had a history 
of drug trafficking in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Johnson was gunned down inside a doughnut shop at 995 Market St. just 
after 1 a.m. in a killing that was captured on videotape. The police 
asked Monday for the public's help in the case and in identifying the 
masked man shown on the tape.

"The Tenderloin and Market Street area is a new hotbed of drug 
dealing," said Lt. John Murphy of the homicide detail. He said he has 
spoken to investigators in police gang and narcotics units about the 
spike in violence brought on by dealers and customers from outside the city.

"They say there is some kind of war going on in that area because 
there is so much money to be made down there," Murphy said.

So far this year, there have been 42 homicides in San Francisco. Of 
them, 15 are considered drug-related, two more than all of the 
drug-related homicides last year, when there was a total of 34 
slayings at this point.

Of the drug-related attacks in 2007, five have been in the Tenderloin.

In what police are saying was the other drug-related killing in the 
Tenderloin this past weekend, a man identified by police as Devin 
Marzullo, 30, of Vacaville, was stabbed at 10:24 p.m. Saturday after 
he had come to the city with a friend.

Marzullo was attacked on the street near 175 Golden Gate Ave., Murphy said.

Marzullo had separated from his friend, who returned and found him 
unconscious with a stab wound. He died later at San Francisco General Hospital.

"If this continues, we'd have 36 (drug-related homicides) for the 
year" Murphy said. "That would be exponentially higher than last year."
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