Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Report: Friday died from gunshot


Wayne Friday. Photo: Steven Underhill
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Wayne Friday, a gay man who was the Bay Area Reporter's former longtime political editor, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office.

The B.A.R. noted in a report last October, shortly after Friday's death, that he had died by suicide. However, the details weren't known until the medical examiner's report became available last week.

The report notes that Friday, 79, who had covered San Francisco's political scene for decades in his "Our Man Friday" weekly column, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease and other illnesses before he died.

Citing the friend who lived with Friday in his Buena Vista Heights home, the report says Friday "had never voiced suicidal intentions," but he "became depressed following the onset of his Parkinson's disease and his recent state of being wheelchair bound."

Friday, who'd been at a rehabilitation center recovering from spinal surgery, returned to his home October 11.

The next day, he was with a nurse and a caregiver in his bedroom when, just after noon, he asked "for some privacy," the report says. His aides left the room.

"Moments later, a single gunshot was heard," the report says.

The nurse and the caregiver returned to Friday's room and found him slumped in his wheelchair with a Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver in his lap. A police officer later said that a metal hospital bed crank had been "positioned inside the trigger guard" of the gun, according to the report, which says that the gunshot wound was just below Friday's right eye. Friday was pronounced dead at the scene.

"No note of intent was found," the report says.

In November, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-San Francisco), City Attorney Dennis Herrera, 2019 mayoral hopeful Mark Leno, and B.A.R. staff were among the estimated 100 people who attended a memorial service for Friday, who'd also been close friends with the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk.

In a statement about the medical examiner's report, B.A.R. publisher Michael Yamashita said, "Wayne was a friend and a mentor to me and so many, many others. He deserves to be better remembered for his politics column in the B.A.R. and its role in fostering the LGBT community's political power. He was a real San Francisco character, always eager to share his take on politics or a bit of juicy gossip. I'm terribly sad to hear about the circumstances of his death and that he suffered so."


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