Filmmaker Who Documented Violence Arrested in Murder Case

Kevin Epps may have had disagreement with the victim, his wife's ex
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2016 4:04 PM CDT
Filmmaker Who Documented Violence Arrested in Murder Case
In this Monday, Oct. 24, 2016 photo, a woman is consoled by others as San Francisco Police guard a door after the fatal shooting of a man in San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Kevin Joseph Epps, a San Francisco filmmaker and community activist, has been arrested on suspicion of...   (Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

Kevin Epps has been making "gritty films" documenting violence in poor San Francisco neighborhoods for two decades—so his arrest Monday after the fatal shooting of a man in his home shocked his friends, who describe him as a gentle community activist, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "This is one of the last things I would expect to hear," says an Oakland rapper who was featured in Epps' 2006 documentary Rap Dreams. Police booked Epps, 48, on suspicion of murder, but on Tuesday night, the DA's office said it was declining to file charges because of insufficient evidence at this time. Marcus Polk, 45, was found dead of a gunshot wound inside Epps' San Francisco home just after 1:30pm Monday. Police have declined to offer details of what happened, why Polk was in Epps' home, or what a possible motive might be, but Polk's son tells CBS San Francisco that Epps was married to Polk's ex-wife.

Polk was a registered sex offender and had a rap sheet dating back to 1995 that included drug offenses, domestic violence, attempted robbery, and auto theft, NBC Bay Area reports. A woman who came to Epps' home to mourn Polk told the Chronicle she had known him for 10 years and that he had fallen into drugs and homelessness after his mother, with whom he lived, died a decade ago. She says he would often show up uninvited at the home where he ultimately died, in which his two children still lived, and cause trouble. Residents at a nearby apartment complex say he had recently been evicted from an apartment there that was believed to be a drug den; the apartment's tenant filed for a restraining order against Polk saying he had no right to live in there and had once gotten violent with him. Polk's son says his father insulted Epps and they got into an argument prior to Polk's shooting. Vic Lee of ABC 7 tweets that sources say the shooting may have been self-defense. (Read more murder stories.)

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