Suspect pleads not guilty in Mission nightclub slaying

A 21-year-old man pleaded not guilty today to charges alleging that he fatally shot a man outside Bruno’s nightclub in San Francisco’s Mission District in December.

Taaron Bragg shot 26-year-old Camilo Senchyna-Beltran in self-defense during the Dec. 7 incident, Bragg’s attorney Deputy Public Defender Niki Solis said at his arraignment this morning.

Solis said the San Francisco Police Department has surveillance footage of the area during the shooting. She said the footage captured Bragg being punched in the face prior to the shooting. She said she believes that footage will exonerate her client and prove that Bragg was merely acting in self-defense.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Fleming said that no witnesses have come forward reporting that Bragg was punched prior to the shooting. Fleming said Bragg had denied involvement in the shooting and is only now claiming he shot Senchyna-Beltran in self-defense.

Fleming accused the defendant of lying about being punched. Solis said that Senchyna-Beltran and another man at the scene had alleged gang affiliations, while her client did not.

Police said Senchyna-Beltran was found suffering from a gunshot wound near the intersection of 20th and Mission streets near Bruno’s nightclub at about 2 a.m. on Dec. 7. Senchyna-Beltran was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where he later died of his injuries, according to police.

San Francisco police arrested Bragg more than two weeks after the fatal shooting. Bragg was initially arrested on an unrelated robbery warrant and a misdemeanor theft warrant by Bayview station police officers who recognized him from a wanted homicide bulletin.

Police investigators gathered information identifying Bragg as the suspect in the homicide and he was later arrested on suspicion of one count of homicide and one count of attempted homicide in addition to the outstanding warrants.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Monica Wiley set Bragg’s bail at $2 million today.