SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco police say a city worker was shot and killed this morning while trying to remove graffiti near SF General Hospital.
27-year-old Jermaine Jackson was a young father whom officials say had turned his life around a few years ago with the help of Mayor Ed Lee's anti-violence work program.
Jackson's co-worker knelt at the spot where Jackson was gunned down at eight o'clock this morning while painting over graffiti on an electrical box at 25th and Vermont streets.
Family and friends stopped by the scene of the crime, clutching each other as they stared in disbelief at a gaping bullet hole on the electrical box.
"It makes me sick, it hurts my heart," said Doris Shabazz, Jackson's paternal grandmother.
Jackson's family gathered two blocks away at the hospital where the young father was rushed with three gunshot wounds, but later died.
"It's sad all he was doing was working to try to take care of his children," said Shabazz. DPW officials say Jackson was an apprentice for the Public Works Department and was due to graduate next year.
Dad to a three year old son and seven year old daughter, Jackson had gone through the Mayor's I.P.O.(Interruptki, Predict, Organize) anti-violence program while earning his GED, leaving his gangties in the past.
Jackson's Instagram account shows a video of him learning how to use a jackhammer on a sidewalk under the guidance of some city workers.
KTVU's Tara Moriarty spoke to Jackson's co-worker who had seen him earlier in the morning at office headquarters. "He was all happy," the coworker said through tears. "He had just received his Christmas jacket from our union and he was ribbing me because I didn't get mine yet. I was his mentor," the man said, sobbing. "Jermaine was dedicated, man. He never missed a day of class- only once because he was sick. This doesn't make sense."
Jermaine's grandmother agreed, "Jermaine had turned his life around."
"I don't know why anyone would kill him," said his cousin, Da'Mya Parker. "I don't know why they would do that. He was at work, I don't even know, that's just so messed up."
Family says the news of Jackson's death has been especially hard on his daughter with whom he shared a special bond.
"That was his first kid, Jayla. That's his best friend," Parker cried.
Police gathered surveillance video of a getaway car although they have not released a vehicle description. KTVU has learned that there may be as many three witnesses to the shooting.
One family member who didn't want to be identified said she's afraid of the repercussions the shooting might have on the Mayor's anti-violence program, "Our young black men are not going to go to work anymore.
They're going to be afraid to go to work and DPW is a job that places you, you know, in urban areas."
The head of Public Works Mohammed Nuru released a statement saying, "It is a tragic event- one we hoped we'd never have to experience. My prayers are with [Jermaine's] loved ones and friends during this difficult and profoundly sad time."
"My heart hurt cause I lost my friend last week and now I lost my cousin... so I don't know how to feel," said Parker as she stared off into nothing.