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By Demian Bulwa and Peter Fimrite
San Francisco Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco Police Department will investigate internally the actions of an off-duty officer whose gun went off Friday night at a small Halloween party in unincorporated Los Altos, authorities said.
The negligent firing of a gun can be a crime. But the incident was not deemed criminal and the officer was not arrested, said Sgt. Don Morrissey of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.
"There's no disputing that the firearm was discharged," Morrissey said. "Whether it was accidental or not is something the San Francisco Police Department will have to determine."
Morrissey declined to name the officer, but two people who were at the gathering identified him as Sgt. Mike Evanson, a 26-year veteran of the San Francisco force.
According to the two witnesses, who both asked not to be identified, about 15 children and adults, including Evanson, were celebrating Halloween at a home on Arbor Avenue. Some adults were sitting around a portable bonfire in front of the home, and trick-or-treaters were walking in the neighborhood.
At about 9:30 p.m., a single shot was heard while Evanson, who had been drinking alcohol, was in the side yard of the home, the witnesses said. The witnesses said the shot was heard a few minutes after the owner of the home had told Evanson not to urinate in the yard. No one saw the gun fired, the partygoers said.
Someone called police to report the gunshot and sheriff's deputies responded with their weapons drawn as they approached the home. The deputies handcuffed Evanson and put him on his knees before leading him to a squad car, one of the witness said.
The deputies took statements from the party-goers and eventually released Evanson, who was picked up by his wife, one of the witnesses said.
"It was very scary," one of the partygoers said.
Morrissey said the incident was documented but not in a police report.
"It was documented in an internal document that can be passed to law enforcement agencies. It just wasn't a police report," he said.
"It wasn't a criminal matter. We did document the incident. All of our documentation was forwarded to the San Francisco Police Department."
San Francisco police Lt. Neville Gittens, a department spokesman, said he also could not discuss details of the incident because it was a personnel matter.
"We are aware of the situation, and we will be conducting an administrative investigation into the incident," Gittens said.
Attempts to reach Evanson on Sunday were unsuccessful. A telephone call left at his home was not returned.
Federal court records show Evanson was one of 18 San Francisco officers who sued the city for discrimination after they were disciplined for being involved in parody videos that city officials called racist and sexist in 2005.
In a court filing last year, Evanson's attorney said he had been with the department for 25 years, had instructed officers on how to deal with potential weapons of mass destruction, and had received many awards and commendations.

Wire Service
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