SF filmmaker to be released from custody in Glen Park killing

- In a turn of events, San Francisco filmmaker Kevin Epps, a man arrested by San Francisco police on suspicion of homicide Monday, has been released due to a lack of evidence according to prosecutors.

Epps, 48, was arrested in connection with a fatal shooting in a home in the 100 block of Addison Street where officers found a victim, Marcus Polk, suffering from gunshot wounds around 1:30 p.m. Monday. Police did not say what led up to the shooting. 

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Epps was arrested later that day on suspicion of homicide and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was released Tuesday according to Max Szabo, a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, who said there is insufficient evidence to charge the case at this time.

The case remains under investigation, however.

Epps created "Straight Outta Hunters Point," an unflinching look at life where he grew up.

As a community activist, Epps tried to steer kids away from violence.

"He's really the inspiration as to why a lot of guys picked up a camera instead of a gun, and started directing, taking pictures, doing videos and stuff of that nature," said a friend, Damien Posey.

"I don't know what was going through his mind, if he did what they say he did, but my prayers are with him," Posey said while Epps was still in custody. 

Rudy Corpuz is the founder of United Playaz, an anti-violence group in San Francisco. He's worked closely with Epps.

"I'm stunned," Corpuz said. "I was shocked to hear, you know, somebody who's so positive as a role model for the community got caught up in a situation like that."

In his films, Epps painted bleak portraits of the plight of African Americans, in neighborhoods devastated by drugs and poverty.

From behind the lens, he chronicled stories that weren't told.

 "Kevin had camera access to any hood in San Francisco," Corpuz said.

"This is what Kev stood for: 'It takes the hood to save the hood,' " Corpuz said, pointing to what was printed on the back of his shirt. "That's what Kevin Epps was all about."

 Corpuz added, "It's so unfortunate. Now, the story is on him."

Friends of Epps say their thoughts are with both Epps and Polk's family, as they struggle to understand what led up to the violence that Epps so strongly denounced.

"Once you build something, you can't really tear it down per se, I mean he may have made a mistake, he may or may not, but that doesn't undermine what he's done in the past," said Posey. "He's marched with us. I mean, you can't take away those footsteps."

 

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