Fort Mason shooting suspects in custody

Shooting victim Benjamin Pessah Photo: Courtesy

An Oct. 28 shooting in a parking lot off Marina Boulevard has left neighbors concerned about the large festival-like parties often held at Fort Mason Center. The incident took place outside the True Blood Halloween 3 event that ran until 2 a.m. that morning inside the Herbst Pavilion.

SFPD officers reported that the suspect, 30-year-old Hun Saelee of San Leandro, was accused of inappropriately touching the victim’s girlfriend as they were leaving the party shortly after midnight. After the accusation was made, Saelee went to his car in the parking lot, pulled a .45-caliber handgun out of the trunk, and began shooting.

The victim, 21-year-old Benjamin Pessah of Burlingame, was shot in the head while he and others tried to take cover under a nearby car. No one else was injured in the shooting.

The suspect and a passenger fled in his car. The SFPD investigation led officers to Saelee and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Judiana Lau, at a residence in San Leandro. Aided by San Leandro police, Saelee was found wearing a costume matching the description of the shooter, and a car matching witnesses’ descriptions was parked in the driveway. Officers found a handgun on the floorboard of the car.

Saelee and Lau were arrested and charged with attempted homicide and various weapons, assault and accessory violations. Saelee pleaded not guilty to all charges at a hearing on Nov. 5 and remains in custody. Lau pleaded not guilty to a single count of being an accessory after the fact and was released on bail.

Pessah was originally given a 25 percent chance of survival by the UCSF doctors who treated him. After a weeks-long medically induced coma, Pessah was awakened and his breathing tube removed a few days before Thanksgiving. He spoke his first words and took his first steps in the following days, to the joy of his family and friends.

Fort Mason Center neighbors have raised concerns over the size of many of the alcohol-fueled events held at the Center throughout the year.

At the request of Supervisor Mark Farrell, Fort Mason Center management has met with SFPD Northern Station Captain Ann Man-nix to discuss crowd control measures and SFPD notification and coordination for future events.

Anyone with additional information, video footage or photos of the incident is encouraged to contact Inspector Thomas McGuire of the SFPD Criminal Investigation Unit at 415-553-1753.

Information can also be provided anonymously by calling the Anonymous Tip Line at 415-575-4444 or Text a Tip at TIP411 and begin the message with “SFPD.”

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