A man accused of fatally shooting his mother near San Francisco’s Corona Heights Park last month pleaded not guilty today to murder, weapons and elder abuse charges. Thomas Ragsdale, 52, is charged with murder, inflicting injury on an elderly or dependent adult likely to cause great bodily injury, and possession of an assault weapon in connection with the July 30 shooting that killed his mother, 76-year-old Martha Alfaro.
After the shooting, which occurred around 11:45 p.m. in the area of 15th and Beaver streets, police were able to take Alfaro to a hospital but Ragsdale allegedly barricaded himself into his home and refused to come out. Police surrounded the home and negotiated with him for nearly 15 hours, shutting down surrounding streets and leaving some residents temporarily shut out of their homes.
When Ragsdale eventually emerged around 2:45 p.m. the next day, he had a gunshot wound to his chest that police said was self-inflicted. He was hospitalized for nearly a month before being booked into San Francisco county jail on Aug. 24. Bail has been set at $5 million. Ragsdale is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 13 for a pre-trial conference.
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