Family and friends of Stephen Guillermo, an SF State student who was shot and killed after mistakenly entering the wrong apartment, urged the District Attorney this week to investigate the incident and press a murder charge on the shooter.
Starting last Wednesday, family and friends staged a three-day-long protest outside San Francisco’s Hall of Justice, holding signs that say “justice for Stephen,” asking for answers from police.
“We want justice for my brother and we want his killer to be put in prison and locked up,” said Stephen’s brother Marc Guillermo. “We can’t bring my brother back, but this could happen to anybody and we’re just trying to prevent this from happening again.”
Amisi Sudi Kachepa, 68, admittedly shot and killed 26-year-old Stephen Guillermo early Saturday morning in a SOMA apartment building on the 900 block of Mission St. where they both lived, according to police. The District Attorney’s office released Kachepa from custody pending further investigation on the incident.
Police officers found Guillermo’s body inside Kachepa’s apartment, according to Officer Gordon Shyy, a police spokesman. Kachepa later surrendered to police and was arrested in connection to the shooting.
The case has raised questions of whether or not the castle doctrine applies to the case and is cause for the grounds of Kachepa’s recent release from custody.
California’s castle doctrine allows the use of deadly force inside one’s personal residence, so long as that person “feels a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury”.
The castle doctrine is California’s version of the “stand-your-ground” law, a similar self defense law that is not restricted to one’s residence or property.
“Stephen was not threatening, he was non-violent — he was even inebriated and somewhat incapacitated. How is that man a threat?” said Stephen Guillermo’s uncle Emil Guillermo.
According to the Guillermo family, Stephen came home intoxicated when he exited the apartment elevator on the wrong floor and accidentally tried to enter Kachepa’s apartment.
Police found Guillermo dead inside the apartment around 1:40 a.m. Saturday morning. Kachepa told police that Guillermo had broken his doorknob.
Police have released very little information about how the doorknob was broken and why Stephen Guillermo’s body was found inside Kachepa’s apartment.
According to Marc Guillermo, he and his brother had previous interactions with Kachepa in the 18 years they lived in the building.
“No one really knew (Kachepa),” Marc Guillermo said. “He was not a person who would say hello to you. He would just go about his business.”
Family and friends said they would continue to stand outside the Hall of Justice this week until police release more information on the incident.
According to Emil Guillermo, the family met with Police Chief Greg Suhr last week to ask for more transparency in the case.
“Whatever law the District Attorney is hiding behind sounds like it’s all in favor of the shooter and not the poor, innocent victim.” Emil Guillermo said. “We need to reconsider what happens when shooters make mistakes. Are they allowed to shoot without consequences? I don’t think so.”
The D.A’s office has not disclosed whether charges will be pressed against Kachepa. A request for comment from the D.A’s office was not returned at the time of publishing.
Additional reporting provided by Andrew Cullen.