San Francisco

Felon injured after losing gunfight he started pleads not guilty

A felon who smashed his BMW into the car of gang rivals, initiating a shoot-out which left him with eleven gunshot wounds and them able to escape unscathed, was brought into federal court in a wheelchair this morning for arraignment on a firearm possession charge.

Dominic Batiste pleaded ‘not guilty’ to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim.

He was on federal supervised release for an earlier firearms offense at the time of the April 2023 incident in San Francisco’s Outer Mission district. A .45 Smith & Wesson handgun, covered in Batiste’s blood, was found by police in his car. Prosecutors say this gun was used in two other Bay Area shootings after being stolen from the car of a U.S. Mint police office.

“It is the plan of the parties to finalize a global resolution to the substantive charge and the ‘form twelve’ [probation violation],” Assistant U.S. Attorney Leif Dautch told the court, heralding an anticipated plea agreement.

The case has languished for some months. After initially permitting Batiste to remain free for several weeks to receive medical treatment he was remanded in custody in July 2023.

An attorney for Batiste asked Judge Kim to request that the U.S. Marshal’s Service arrange pain and nerve medication for the defendant that he had previously been receiving but had now stopped.

Shortly after lunchtime on April 26 2023 SFPD was called to the scene of a shooting on Sadowa Street in the Outer Mission. They found Batiste lying seriously injured next to a damaged BMW. Another damaged vehicle – an Infiniti – was nearby.

After Batiste was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for emergency treatment, officers found a loaded .45 Smith and Wesson handgun on the driver’s side floor of the BMW.

They then obtained footage from a security camera on a home overlooking the crime scene. This, prosecutors say, shows Batiste drive his car round a corner on to Sadowa Street and, at the point he apparently spots the Infiniti, immediately accelerate and smash directly in to it.

One of the Infiniti’s two occupants – “a black male wearing a grey hoodie” – is seen opening fire on Batiste, who gets out of his BMW and takes cover behind the open driver’s door. The shooter walks around the BMW and opens fire on Batiste again at which point he, and an accomplice who gets out of the Infiniti, are able to run away toward Plymouth Avenue.

Blood on the handgrip of the weapon found in Batiste’s car was swabbed for DNA. This yielded a profile for which there was “very strong support” for it Baptiste’s.

The firearm itself was stolen in September 2022 from the car of an off duty U.S. Mint police officer. Prosecutors say this weapon was used in two other shootings – one in Stockton in 2022 and one in Manteca in 2023 – that occurred after it had been stolen.

Batiste has been convicted of felonies on four occasions. In 2013 he was found guilty of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon after brutally attacking a defenseless man walking in San Francisco’s Mission district. His subsequent complaint to an appellate court that his probation condition, requiring him to stay away from 24th Street and Mission Street, was “unconstitutionally overbroad” was rejected.

In 2016 he was convicted in federal court of being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentenced to 28 months in prison. In 2020 he was convicted again of being a felon in possession of a firearm in federal court and sentenced to 37 months in prison.

Prosecutors say Batiste is a Norteño gang member and an “unmitigable danger” to the public.

He will next appear before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer on January 10 2024 for a status hearing which, attorneys suggested this morning, may in fact be used as an opportunity for the defendant to change his plea to guilty.

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