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Self-defense argument sways jury to acquit man in 2020 fatal shooting

A San Francisco Superior Court jury on Tuesday found a man accused of fatally shooting another man last year in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood not guilty after his attorney argued the shooting was in self-defense.

Robert Brewer, 31, was charged with murder for an Aug. 19, 2020 shooting in the 800 block of O’Farrell Street that killed 44-year-old Contra Costa County resident Darrelle Scales.

Officers initially found Scales on the sidewalk suffering from a gunshot wound. Despite life-saving measures by officers and medical crews, Scales was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Officers eventually located Brewer and arrested him.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Scales’ family described him as a “a bright light that could turn anyone’s frown into a smile,” and called his killing senseless.

During the trial, Brewer’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kathleen Natividad, argued that Brewer acted in self-defense when he shot Scales.

According to Natividad, Brewer had rented a car and was visiting San Francisco to do some shopping. Later that day, as he traveled on foot, he got lost and mistook a different car for his rental car.

As he approached the vehicle which he thought was his rental car, Scales, the owner of the vehicle, began threatening Brewer. Brewer, however, walked away from the confrontation but Scales continued to follow him on foot for more than two blocks, according to the Public Defender’s Office.

At one point, Brewer allegedly saw Scales reach for what looked like a shiny object in his waistband, and fearing for his safety, Brewer reached for his own gun and fatally shot Scales.

According to the Public Defender’s Office, Scales was later found to have an 18-inch metal pipe in his possession.

Natividad said in a statement:

“The jury understood that Mr. Brewer was in fear for his life and was acting in self-defense.”

She added:

“Situations like this are so complex because you have someone like Mr. Brewer who grew up in an area where he was exposed to so much violence and was only carrying a gun for protection.”

Public Defender Mano Raju said:

“I am proud of our defense team who worked hard to demonstrate that this was an act of self-defense. Mr. Brewer would have never fired if he was not in fear for his own life. We are pleased that the jury understood the reality of the altercation and made the right decision.”

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