Portrait of the Soul-Jacker

Police call Bernard Temple the meanest hit man ever to roam the gang-infested streets of Bayview-Hunters Point. Temple calls himself a soul-jacker -- someone who kills to steal the spiritual power of his victims.

Bayview-Hunters Point exploded in gang warfare -- again -- on June 12 and 13. Gang attacks and gunshots ricocheted all over the neighborhood, culminating in a melee on Whitney Young Circle, which borders Ridgetop Park in the heart of Hunters Point.

On June 13, more than 100 mourners, a mixture of members of several different gangs who were drunk or high on drugs or both, poured out of a funeral for a Hunters Point gang member. They started shooting up the general area with semiautomatic weapons. Fowlie's police unit was among those answering the call. "Among this crowd were nearly all the known gangmembers from Shoreview, Harbor Road, Northridge, Oakdale and Baldwin, the Flatlands to the 3 The Hard Way crew," Fowlie reported at the time.

Bernard Temple was there too. And Fowlie saw his chance to nab the Soul-Jacker for a clear probation violation. Temple gave the officer permission to search his house, Fowlie's report states. The officer discovered more than enough to end Temple's probation.

What Fowlie found may not have constituted legal proof that Temple was the Soul-Jacker, a complete, badass killer. But the haul, as listed in a police report, is impressive, nonetheless:

One Chinese AKS-762 assault rifle.
A red S.F. 49ers knit cap with eyeholes cut out.
One black Oakland Raiders knit cap with two eyeholes cut out.
One side-kick shoulder holster.
One black knit cap with two eyeholes cut out.
One box of Remington .38-caliber ammo containing 25 live rounds.

One box of Winchester AA plus Trap Loads 12-gauge shotgun shells containing 15 live shells.

One camouflage flak jacket.
Three magazines loaded with live rounds for an AKS-762.
A Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun.
Two thousand dollars in U.S. currency.

In court, Temple pled guilty to violating his parole and was sentenced to three years in San Quentin State Prison. It seemed Fowlie had succeeded in eliminating, until 1993 at least, one of the motivating forces for the deadly cycle of retribution and death in Hunters Point.

But Temple did less than one year in prison and was back on the streets in June 1991. Almost immediately, it is alleged, he picked up another murder contract.

A warm summer afternoon fades into evening. Around 6:30 p.m., Jacky Williams makes a fatal decision: He buys some beer and snacks at H&K Liquors and Delicatessen in Hunters Point, one block from the desecrated Alice Griffith projects.

The deadly nature of this decision is connected to a decision Williams made earlier, when he broke into the home of a major crack supplier and stole large amounts of drugs and cash.

As the clerk rings up Williams' purchase, Temple jumps from a car at the curb, pulls a hooded sweater over his head, and walks up behind Williams, according to the grand jury testimony of two eyewitnesses.

One of the witnesses, Otis Gains, was on the phone in the store when Temple walked in. "He didn't say anything," Gains told the grand jury last November. "He just walked up to Jacky Williams and shot him."

Actually, Temple is alleged to have shot Williams twice at the base of the neck. The bullets didn't kill Williams immediately. One cut through a carotid artery. Both lodged in Williams' shattered jawbone, but somehow the dying man managed to stagger from the store and fall face up in a pile on the street. Temple finished the job, firing several more bullets into or toward Jacky Williams' chest. He fired so furiously that, the coroner's report will show, some of the bullets missed their target and ricocheted off the cement.

Before the air went still, Temple was back in the waiting car, manned by an accomplice still unknown to law enforcement authorities. The car drove off.

By the early 1990s Bernard Temple had developed a fearsome reputation not only for precision murder, but also for the art of turf-warrior ultraviolence.

Consider the 9th of September, 1991, three months after Temple whacked Williams. It's a clear day, and approximately 10 gangbangers from Hunters Point load up in several cars: a raggedy-ass brown Olds Cutlass; two Mustangs, black and green; another Olds Cutlass, stripped of paint and primer gray; a Buick Skylark; a Mercury Cougar; and a gray, two-door Datsun.

Bernard Temple is driving his girlfriend's four-door Honda. Riding with him are Danny Boy Williams and Robert Crittle.

The HP mob have armed themselves with golf clubs and guns. They aren't going to the driving range. The previous night a Hunters Point kid had his ass kicked by a kid from Oceanview.

It's payback time.
Their caravan rumbling into the rival neighborhood, Temple and his crew spot Andrew Isler and Robert Blackman standing at Randolph and Head streets.

"Is that the nigga?" one of the HP crew asks, referring to the two men.
The cars come to a halt and gunshots ring out. Blackman runs off, successfully evading his would-be attackers. Isler is less fortunate as he high-tails it up the hill on Head Street and dives under a car to hide.

"Should we kill him?" someone asks as the HP contingent spots Isler cowering under the car.

"Yes," the answer comes.
A furtive grasping of hands, and Isler is dragged out to what he thinks is his certain doom.

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