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Publication date: 06/03/2003

'Dirty South' shot down in TL
Of The Examiner Staff

Carl Robinson stood on the corner of Ellis and Jones streets Monday afternoon, holding the reddish-stained glass pipe up to the sunlight.

"This is crack and blood combined," he said. "I took it out of the dead man's hand."

It was 2 p.m. Hours earlier Robinson, 40, had been on the payphone across the street from the Ellis Food Center when he had heard gunshots and watched a man he knew as "Dirty South" buckle down screaming.

Robinson ran across the street, where he saw blood bubbling up out of the man's mouth. No other wounds were visible. He removed his denim shirt and pressed it to Dirty South's mouth.

The dying man did not speak; nor did he move, except one little shudder.

"It was like Lamaze," he added. "All I could do was say, 'breathe in, breathe out.'"

A minute and a half later the cops were on the scene and Dirty South was dead. A police officer yanked Robinson up and told him to get lost or he would be arrested. That was motivation enough for Robinson, who had a 3 p.m. appointment with his parole officer from San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project.

At 2:20 p.m., Robinson stood looking at the sidewalk where a man had died in his arms. A shopkeeper with a bucket of water came to wash most of the blood away, but the stain remained. Someone put a votive candle against the wall to mark The City's 31st murder of the year. Robinson said he was too badly shaken to see his parole officer.

"I'm 40 and this was the first man I've had die on me in my life," he said. "I've been getting drunk ever since."

Sgt. Neville Gittens said the suspect fled east on Ellis Street and may have ducked into the Hilton Hotel. Homicide Inspector Anthony Casillas said police are still interviewing witnesses and would not have more information to release until today. By press time the medical examiner's office had not identified Dirty South.

Robinson said Dirty South was in his early 30s and "always had a smile, you know, a happy-go-lucky guy." But earlier in the morning, he had seen Dirty South on Jones Street and he seemed in bad shape. His shoes were off, his pants half pulled down.

"He was leaning against the wall, crying," said Robinson.

Robinson dropped the crack pipe into his pocket.

"That's my keepsake, that's what it is," said Robinson. "I am going to take it to a drug free clinic and show what crack does. That is what I'm going to do."

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