1 dead, 3 shot at San Francisco gay pride event

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(06-27) 17:30 PDT San Francisco, CA (AP) —

Thousands of revelers gathered in downtown San Francisco for the 40th annual gay pride parade on Sunday, one day after a related celebration turned deadly with a shooting at a street party.

Stephen Powell, 19, was among three people shot late Saturday night during the city’s “Pink Saturday” event that precedes the parade. Powell died early Sunday from gunshot wounds to the chest, authorities said.

A 19-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man also were injured, each shot in the leg, but are expected to survive, said Officer Samson Chan, a police spokesman.

The shooting took place at around 11:30 p.m. Saturday in the city’s Castro district. Chan said huge crowds had gathered in the street for the normally peaceful party.

When shots were fired, police descended on the scene as partygoers ran in all directions. Police arrested a 19-year-old man, whose identity has not been released, and recovered a handgun believed to be used in the shooting.

Police were investigating what led to the shooting but Officer Phil Gordon told the San Francisco Chronicle authorities did not believe it was a hate crime.

“We think they (the shooter and at least one victim) knew each other,” he said.

City leaders said based on the initial investigation they did not believe the violence would cause officials to cancel future gay pride events in the Castro.

A 2006 shooting at Halloween party in the Castro resulted in the halting of all subsequent city-sanctioned Halloween festivities there.

The 40th annual gay pride weekend started Saturday at Civic Center Plaza, where thousands converged as vendors sold barbecue and burritos and DJs spun tunes on a large stage.

On Sunday, people crowded the streets to watch the gay pride parade and a concert by The Backstreet Boys. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is from San Francisco, also delivered a videotaped address.

San Francisco Pride Executive Director Amy Andre said the fight for equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people has come a long way since the first pride celebration in 1970.

Andre said this year’s theme, “40 and Fabulous,” is partly intended to celebrate the movement’s progress.

“But we’re also reflecting on the fact that we still have a long way to come for equal rights,” Andre added.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/06/27/state/n122308D32.DTL#ixzz0s6XECD1h

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