By Henrietta J. Burroughs
East Palo Alto Today
Posted September 7, 2010
San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer, East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis, East Palo Alto Mayor David Woods and Lieutenant Wayne Hoss of the San Mateo Police Department.
Representatives from both the San Mateo and the East Palo Alto Police Departments met with concerned and upset community members at the Chat with the Chief meeting last August 19.
Those attending the meeting wanted answers concerning the murder of East Palo Alto resident and activist David Lewis.
But the only answers given were inconclusive. In response to one question about the status of the murder investigation, San Mateo Police Lieutenant Wayne Hoss said, “I have 10 detectives working this case and they go in 10 directions depending on who they talk with. It changes everyday.”
David Lewis was shot and killed by an unknown assailant at the Hillsdale Shopping Mall on June 9 in San Mateo, CA. His murder was a shock not only to those who knew him locally, but it stunned many around the world, since Lewis had traveled internationally as a part of his work in AIDS prevention with the County of San Mateo.
Sensing the disappointment of those present with the answers that were being given and the lack of progress in finding the murderer, San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer said, “It’s been a roller coaster for us. It has been discouraging.”
It was even hinted during the meeting that Lewis’ murderer might not have been from the local area. “It may be a little bit more global than our community,” said East Palo Alto’s Police Chief Ron Davis.
Earlier in the meeting Davis said, “Some hope might have been provided and some hope might have been taken away. We will not stop looking for David’s killer. We will keep pushing. The East Palo Alto police department will keep supporting the San Mateo police with all of its resources,” Davis said.
“It is what it is,” Manheimer said. “We want to get the killer. We want to put this to rest. I feel it as strongly as you do that this happened in San Mateo.”
Manheimer stressed that finding Lewis’ murderer “is a top priority for our organization.”
East Palo Alto resident Patrick Brock, one of Lewis’ friends and a member of his recovery group, thought that Manheimer’s meeting with the East Palo Alto Police and with the East Palo Alto community to give an update as to the status of the San Mateo Police Department’s investigation was a good idea.
Brock said he thinks that the San Mateo Police Department has been withholding information regarding what it knows about Lewis’ murder.
At one point during an emotional exchange with the police, Brock stated that San Mateo police told him that Lewis gave the police the name of the person who shot him.
Then Brock said the police denied that Lewis had given them the name. Given what he considers some discrepancies in the handling of the case, Brock thinks that all of the information should be given to the East Palo Alto Police Department, which he feels should lead the investigation.
San Mateo police detectives who accompanied Manheim to the meeting passed out flyers announcing the $50.000 reward the State of California is offering for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for David Lewis’ murder.
They urged everyone at the meeting to distribute the information to get the word out to turn up more clues to lead to a resolution of Lewis’ murder.
Click here to see a copy of the flyers the police are circulating.