SAN FRANCISCO -- An Antioch man accused of killing two jewelry store workers -- nearly decapitating one -- and wounding a store owner over a price dispute last week committed the crimes "with the same level of passion you or I might exhibit mowing the lawn," a prosecutor said Wednesday.

The motive in the July 12 double slaying that prompted police to swarm over downtown San Francisco in the middle of the afternoon emerged as suspect Barry White was charged this week. The case has re-focused attention on a 2009 incident in which White was shot by Antioch police after allegedly attempting to run over a police officer and ramming a patrol car.

Barry White, 23, of Antioch, faces charges of murder and attempted murder in a jewelry store shooting on July 12, 2013, on Brannan Street in San Francisco,
Barry White, 23, of Antioch, faces charges of murder and attempted murder in a jewelry store shooting on July 12, 2013, on Brannan Street in San Francisco, Calif. Two female employees were killed and a male employee wounded. (San Francisco Police)

The 23-year-old is awaiting trial in the 2009 case and was out of jail after Contra Costa Judge Lewis Davis significantly lowered his bail from $120,000 to $5,000 in August 2011. White posted the reduced bail; several months later, Davis refused a request by prosecutors to send him back behind bars, court documents show.

During a court hearing Tuesday, San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Scot Clark said surveillance footage at the jewelry store captured the slayings.

The footage at Victoga Inc., a jewelry store at 888 Brannan St., shows White arguing with the owner about being overcharged for an item he purchased recently, leaving the store with change from the owner to feed a parking meter and returning and sitting calmly for 20 minutes until other customers left, Clark said.


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Without warning, White then pulled out a gun and shot at the owner three times at close range, Clark said. The 50-year-old store owner, who had a cut on his face and defensive wounds, survived.

Killed were 35-year-old Khin Min of San Francisco and 51-year-old Lina Lim of Daly City. Authorities say Min was about to exit the store but came back inside, when White shot at her and missed. He then cut her from "ear to ear," authorities said. She was dead within 40 seconds, Clark said. Lim was found nearly decapitated, he said.

Whitewent to a restaurant next door and surrendered after firing at six San Francisco police officers until he ran out of ammunition, police said. He has been has been charged with a total of 16 felony counts, including two counts of murder.

"I think the district attorney went overboard by showboating in his characterization of the videotape," said White's attorney, Steve Taxman said. "This young man is not a monster. They think he is, and he's being portrayed that way but no one knows him. He's been victimized by the system. I'm wondering if he's being victimized again."

At the time of the San Francisco slayings, White was out on bail and awaiting an August trial in two Contra Costa cases involving alleged threats against law enforcement officers, court records show. He was shot in the head and back by an Antioch officer on Aug. 29, 2009 after he allegedly tried to run the officer down in a parking lot on G Street.

According to Contra Costa County deputy district attorney Kevin Bell, the officer, with his brother-in-law in tow for a ride-along, tailed White's racing Nissan to a parking lot after one of White's friends threatened a security guard with a shotgun when they were denied entry to a party. The officer fired four shots into the Nissan after White allegedly refused orders to put his hands in the air and get out of the car.

In court documents, Taxman said White and his companions were the ones who were threatened with firearms outside the party and were unaware that it was a police officer who chased and then shot at them.

White was one of two plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed in August 2011, which claims officers left White for dead, did not come to his aid for 90 minutes after he was shot and threatened to charge him if he filed a claim, which he did in February 2010.

White was charged in May 2010 -- nine months after the shooting -- with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and resisting arrest. He was released on $125,000 bail, and then on his own recognizance, as the case moved slowly through the court.

It was at White's July 2011 preliminary hearing that his father, 44-year-old Barry White Sr., allegedly called the detective who was testifying a liar, and the younger White was accused of threatening police as his dad was being taken into custody. He was charged with threatening a police officer and both he and his father were charged with resisting arrest.

The Contra Costa District Attorney's Office tried in August 2011 to keep White incarcerated on $120,000 bail for the courtroom fracas, but Judge Davis lowered it to $5,000, leading to White's release, according to court documents. Prosecutors tried again to have White taken in jail custody in December 2011 and were denied.

In the latest case, White was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon but it was delayed until 1:30 p.m. on July 24. He remains in custody without bail.

David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him in Richmond at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.