Prosecutors today described a man charged with murder for an August fatal shooting in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley as a “hit man” with an extensive criminal history. Zuri Wilson, 36, was arrested on Oct. 4 in connection with the killing of 34-year-old Shawnte Otis in the 100 block of Blythedale Avenue, police said. Otis was sitting in a car when two suspects approached and opened fire. He was struck by the gunfire and taken to a hospital, where he died.
Wilson was arrested in San Pablo but has been brought back to San Francisco, where he was set to be arraigned this morning. He did not enter a plea and will return to court on Oct. 28. Outside of court, Assistant District Attorney Scot Clark said Wilson has also been charged with the special circumstance of lying in wait before the shooting. “This was a hit, and we believe Mr. Wilson is a hit man,” Clark said, adding that “his name has been around here for a very long time.”
Wilson was previously arrested in 2004 for a 1999 killing in San Francisco and was on the Police Department’s 10 Most Wanted list. Police said at the time that he had a previous conviction for possession of a machine gun and may have been responsible for multiple other murders in the city and the East Bay. However, prosecutors did not end up charging him in the 1999 case, citing insufficient evidence. Wilson’s defense attorney Stuart Hanlon said outside of court that he has not received all of the evidence in the August case, but that investigators say two masked men shot Otis then fled.
Hanlon said Wilson’s prior convictions were mostly drug-related and that he maintains that he was not one of the shooters. “My client says he’s innocent,” he said. Wilson remains in custody and is being held without bail. Police spokeswoman Sgt. Danielle Newman said the case remains open while investigators look for the second suspect, but no information about the second suspect was immediately available.
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