SAN FRANCISCO—A suspect has been arrested in connection to the murder of a San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW) employee that was fatally shot earlier this week while cleaning graffiti in Potrero Hill neighborhood.
Michael Higginbotham, 26, was charged on Thursday, December 1 for the alleged murder of Jermaine Jackson, 27 – who was killed in a drive-by shooting at about 8 a.m. on Wednesday, November 30, while painting over graffiti on a box cover at the corner of 25th and Vermont streets.
Jackson, a father of two, was with two other DPW crew members when he was shot; he was transported to the San Francisco General Hospital where he died from the injuries he sustained.
Jackson has worked as an apprentice in the public works department since March 2015 and was set to graduate next year; in a statement, his boss Mohammed Nuru described him as a “motivated, hardworking and well-liked employee.”
“This was a young man who worked very hard to build a good life for himself and his children, and was committed to his work keeping the City of San Francisco and our neighborhoods clean,” Mayor Edwin M. Lee said in a statement. “This is a tragic instance of a life cut short.”
Authorities believe this was likely a gang-related shooting; a homicide investigation and separate internal public works probe are ongoing.
Before his apprenticeship, Jackson was part of a city program called Interrupt, Predict and Organize for a Safer San Francisco, which was designed by Mayor Lee’s office to keep kids away from gangs and prevent violence in high-crime neighborhoods.
“He showed these kids—he showed everyone—he could turn his life around,” Jackson’s grandmother, 63-year-old Juanita Befford, told the SF Chronicle.
— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) November 30, 2016
ABC’s Wayne Freedman tweeted a photo at the scene.
Mayor Lee ordered the city’s flag to be flown at half-staff until sunset Thursday for “the death of one of our own.”