The man who shot another man at San Francisco's June 2015 LGBT Pride celebration is expected to spend more than six years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to charges in the case.
Joshua Spencer, 21, of San Francisco, was sentenced February 7 to about nine years and four months in state prison. But with factors including credit for time served, Spencer, who's been in custody since July 2015, is expected to be released in 2023.
He pleaded guilty in December to two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. In exchange, counts of attempted murder and carrying a loaded firearm in public were dismissed.
In a July 2015 court appearance, Assistant District Attorney Nathan Quigley said that video of the incident showed Spencer firing at one of the two victims. The victims are the man who was actually shot, and the person that Spencer had been firing at.
The gun was found in the same block as the shooting, Quigley said, and Spencer's "palm prints were found on the magazine of the gun."
Officer Carlos Manfredi, who was then a police spokesman, said that the situation was believed to have started when several groups of men, "unrelated to the Pride event," got into a verbal argument near or inside the venue.
"The incident escalated when one of the subjects pulled out a gun and fired several shots," Manfredi said.
He said in a news release that Spencer was arrested in Vallejo after the San Francisco Police Department's Gang Task Force Unit followed investigative leads and identified him as the suspect.
Freddy Atton, the man who was shot, sued the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee over the incident. Atton, who blamed a lack of security for the shooting, settled his lawsuit with Pride in November.
Deputy Public Defender Brian Pearlman said in an interview Tuesday, February 14 that Spencer had made a "sad mistake."
"From the beginning, he's been willing to accept responsibility," said Pearlman, who referred to the sentence as "a fair resolution."
He added that Spencer, who had faced the possibility of a life sentence because of the attempted murder charge, now has two strikes.
"If he's arrested again for a serious case, he will be a three-striker," Pearlman said, which could mean Spencer would spend the rest of his life in prison.
Outside the courtroom after one of Spencer's appearances last year, Crystal Martin, 60, his mother, said he was "a good child. He just got caught up with that peer pressure."
After the shooting, according to Martin, Spencer had repeatedly said, "I fucked up, Mom. I fucked my whole life up."
Reached by phone Tuesday – Spencer's birthday – Martin declined to comment on her son's sentence. Approached in jail not long after his arrest, Spencer declined to speak with the Bay Area Reporter.