News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón



January 3, 2018

Twitter: @GeorgeGascon

CONTACT:     ALEX BASTIAN (415) 553-1931         |        MAX SZABO (415) 553-9089




SAN FRANCISCO – Today, District Attorney George Gascón announced that a judge sentenced Barry White Jr., age 27, of Antioch, to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.  White was also sentenced to an additional life term with the possibility of parole.  Additionally, a judge sentenced him to a total of 266 years.  A jury found White guilty on July 7, 2017 on all counts.  White was charged with two counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder, possession of an assault weapon, and six counts of assault with a firearm upon a peace officer with allegations of special circumstances.
“The fact that this man took two lives and attempted to take others over a piece of jewelry demonstrates a disturbing disregard for human life,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “No sentence can undo the damage this man did to the victims’ families, but San Franciscans are safer with this man behind bars for the rest of his life.  What’s more, the police officers who intervened in this incident are heroes for their quick response and resolve under fire.  Had the defendant reached his vehicle and the assault weapon in his backseat, many more could have been injured or killed.”
According to court records, on May 31, 2013 at the Victoga jewelry store located in the San Francisco Gift Center/Design Center building a¬¬t 888 Brannan Street, the defendant ordered a custom 14 karat gold jewelry chain.  Victoga was a wholesale and retail jewelry business owned by Chich “Victor” Hung.  Mr. Hung had owned the business for 26 years and was assisted by two long-time employees, Lina Lim and Khin Win Min (known as “Winni”).  Ms. Lim and Ms. Min often supervised the store and waited on customers on days when Mr. Hung did not come in.  On May 31, 2013, Ms. Lim and Ms. Min were working in the store but Mr. Hung was not.  The final agreed-upon price for the necklace ordered by the defendant was $5,573.43. Ms. Lim and Ms. Min filled out an invoice for the defendant’s order. The defendant paid a $2,500 deposit, and Mr. Hung ordered the chain. 
On June 21, 2013, the defendant collected his chain from the jewelry store and Ms. Lim marked on the invoice that the balance was paid off.  However, the defendant was not satisfied with his purchase and called Mr. Hung to set up a meeting to discuss it with him.   The defendant made an appointment and came into the store on June 28.   The defendant said he was not satisfied with the weight of the chain because it was lighter than he expected.  In spite of a longtime policy that had been made clear to the defendant at the time he ordered the chain, that whatever the store receives from the factory is sold as-is, Mr. Hung did not want any issues between his store and his customers, and because the defendant was unhappy he offered to give the defendant $700.  The defendant, however, insisted that he wanted $1,000.   Mr. Hung saw that the defendant was so angry that his hand was shaking, and he declined the offer of $700.  The defendant said to Mr. Hung, “I will make you pay.”
On July 12, 2013, Mr. Hung, Ms. Lim, and Ms. Min were working in the Victoga jewelry store.  Mr. Woo, an occasional employee who did jewelry repair work, was also present. Video captured many of the events inside the store.  
The defendant appeared at the store that afternoon at 1:26 PM.  Mr. Hung was not expecting the defendant to come to the store that day because he had neither made an appointment nor checked in with the building front desk, as was building protocol.  When the defendant appeared at the store, Mr. Hung, Ms. Lim and Ms. Min were assisting customers, and Mr. Woo was working on a jewelry repair.  
Mr. Hung was surprised to see the defendant but saw it as an opportunity to resolve the issue.  Since Ms. Lim, Ms. Min and he were busy assisting other customers, Mr. Hung asked the defendant to wait.  The defendant said he couldn’t wait because he was parked at a meter and didn’t have much time. Mr. Hung gave the defendant five quarters so he could go feed the meter. The defendant left the store and walked out to his car at 1:32 PM.  Three minutes later, after feeding the meter, the defendant returned to the store. The defendant sat on a stool until Ms. Lim and Ms. Min finished with the customers. Mr. Hung described the defendant’s demeanor as “very patient, no sign of anger” and added that “he looked very calm and in a good mood.”
After the customers left the store, the defendant jumped off his stool and approached Mr. Hung, who was behind the counter. The defendant and Mr. Hung had a conversation that lasted approximately one minute. The defendant said he wanted $1,000. Mr. Hung offered the defendant $700, stating “Everything we do here is captured by video recording. We don’t do any funny business. We don’t cheat you. And if you’re still not satisfied, you can sue us.” 
The defendant suddenly pulled out a gun, pointing it at Mr. Hung.  The defendant immediately shot Mr. Hung multiple times at close range, striking his face and chest and Mr. Hung fell to the floor. The defendant next quickly turned his gun on Ms. Lim and shot her once in the face, and she also fell down.  The defendant next shot at Ms. Min, but he missed. The defendant’s gun was now empty, as he had fired all five shots. 
Then the defendant quickly approached Ms. Min, who was standing in the center of the store. The defendant dropped the gun and pulled out his knife. The defendant grabbed Ms. Min from behind, steadied her, and slit her throat with his knife in a single, savage stroke.  Ms. Min, mortally wounded, wobbled, and then fell to the floor.  
With Ms. Min’s blood covering his shirt, the defendant returned to Mr. Hung and Ms. Lim, who had each crawled into the small office in the back of the store, trying to get away. There was no surveillance camera with a direct view inside of the office, but Mr. Hung testified before the Grand Jury that the defendant then used his knife to slice Ms. Lim’s neck. Based on the medical examiner’s testimony, it is clear that the gaping wound caused Ms. Lim’s death within minutes. 
The defendant then also tried to slit Mr. Hung’s throat.  A violent struggle ensued and Mr. Hung testified that he initially tried to fight back, and kicked the defendant four to six times before he was overcome.  Mr. Hung was bleeding profusely from bullet wounds and multiple cuts, including to his throat, and the defendant may have believed Mr. Hung was dead. Mr. Hung, however, miraculously survived the attack.
After casually stepping over Ms. Win’s body to retrieve his gun the defendant left Victoga.  Mr. Hung tried to call 911, but his phone was covered in blood and it didn’t connect to the police. Mr. Hung called his wife and reached his daughter, and he asked her to call 911.  Many other calls to 911 were made from persons inside other offices and businesses within the Gift Center.  Police arrived just a few minutes later. 
Mr. Hung survived the attack but was hospitalized with extensive injuries. He had an entry bullet hole next to his nose that fractured a bone and an exit bullet wound below his ear. There were two bullet holes in his chest.  He had incisions to his lip, neck, and jaw where the defendant cut him.  He had a knife wound to his right arm. His hands had many injuries, including a severed tendon requiring surgery and deep wounds to multiple fingers.  Two of Mr. Hung’s fingers almost fell off. 
Ms. Lim and Ms. Min both died as a result of the defendant’s acts.  San Francisco’s Acting Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Amy Hart performed the autopsies. Dr. Hart found that Ms. Lim’s death was caused by a gunshot wound to the face and incised neck.  Ms. Lim’s intermediate range gunshot wound was also potentially life-threatening, though it is possible she could have survived this wound alone.  The fatal cutting wound to her neck, however, stretched seven inches from her right jaw to her left collarbone, which would have required the attacker to use a “marked or severe amount of force.” This wound alone was enough to cause death within minutes. 
Dr. Hart found Ms. Min’s death was caused by sharp-force injury to the neck. Ms. Min’s neck had an eight-and-a-half inch wound from below her right ear to her left collarbone. Two major blood vessels were incised. The wound was consistent with a “marked or severe amount of force.” 
At around 2:00 PM, three San Francisco Police Department officers responded to a call of shots fired at the Design Center. The officers were Captain Timothy Oberzeir, Sergeant Walter Ware, and Lieutenant David Johnson. The officers were returning from a lunch break in their un-marked police vehicle and happened to be very close to the Design Center. The officers were driving down Brannan Street, approaching the Design Center. Sergeant Ware saw the defendant with blood on his clothing and arms. The defendant was walking on the sidewalk near Taqueria Dos Amigos, which is next to the Design Center. 
Captain Oberzeir abruptly stopped the car mid-street and the officers all exited and approached the defendant.  As the officers were unsure if the defendant was a victim of the shooting, they quickly asked him if everything was okay. The defendant did not respond and Lieutenant Johnson thought he appeared dazed and “shocked that he saw [the officers].” Lieutenant Johnson and Sergeant Ware drew their weapons and gave a direct order to the defendant to get down on the ground. The defendant raised his hands as if he were surrendering and began to feign sinking down to the ground. But instead of surrendering, the defendant quickly turned around and ran into the taqueria. Sergeant Ware and Lieutenant Johnson initially chased after the defendant. Sergeant Ware saw the defendant jump behind the counter of the taqueria, and then saw the defendant pull a weapon out of his pocket or waistband.  
According to Sergeant Ware, it “was all happening very quickly.” Five to ten seconds after the first gunshot, Sergeant Ware heard about three to five gunshots in quick succession.  The defendant moved from behind the counter and walked to the doorway of the taqueria, where he resumed a sheltered shooting stance from just inside the doorway, with his gun pointed outside.  Two other marked police cars arrived in quick succession. 
Through his car window, driving alone down Brannan Street, Sergeant Ronald Liberta saw the defendant, from inside the taqueria, pointing his gun directly at Captain Oberzeir’s head. Sergeant Liberta then saw the defendant look over at him, and then the defendant re-directed his weapon away from Captain Oberzeir and instead pointed it directly at Sergeant Liberta. 
As Sergeant Liberta was driving quickly forward, the defendant tracked his path with the gun and fired directly at him. When the defendant fired at Sergeant Liberta, they were between 25 to 60 feet apart.  Officers Cody Barnes and Chris Costa were driving close behind Sergeant Liberta and saw the defendant shooting at their Sergeant.  Officer Costa stopped his car immediately mid-street and he and Officer Barnes got out, pulling their guns and using their car for cover.  The defendant then pointed his gun in their direction and shot at them. 
As soon as the defendant had fired all five shots, he threw his empty gun out onto the street.  The defendant then immediately surrendered by laying down on his stomach in the front doorway of the taqueria. Officer Costa handcuffed the defendant. 
It was incredibly fortunate that no one was killed during the defendant’s shooting spree from inside the taqueria. During the entire crisis, no police officer fired their gun.  All six officers were in police uniform. 
Officer Lamar Toney, one of many police officers quickly arriving on scene, recovered a bloody knife from the defendant’s pocket.  The defendant’s gun, covered in blood, was also recovered. The DNA profile found on the knife’s blade and handle matches the defendant’s DNA sample.
Officers escorted the defendant to the hospital in an ambulance.  Blood tests revealed the defendant was not under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substances.   
“My heart goes out to the family members of the slain victims,” said ADA Diane Knoles.  “What they’ve endured at the hands of this cold and calculating murderer is unspeakable, but this man will never be able to hurt anyone else.”
The Honorable Ethan Schulman presided.  This successful prosecution is the result of an excellent investigation by SFPD Inspectors Michael Philpott and Jon Kasper.  Special thanks go to DAI Inspector Darryl Jackson, Paralegals Tony Yu and Jessica Diamond, Victim Advocates Pete Chung and Amanda Esquivel, and to Morris Moore and Leland Chan for IT support.  Assistant District Attorney Diane Knoles prosecuted the case.