A California police officer shot and killed a man in front of a 7-Eleven–and video captured it all.
As the footage begins, the officer can be seen pinning a long-haired man to the ground in between the parking lot curb, a trashcan and a green station wagon. Struggle ensues. The man then appears to grab something from the officer’s belt–which many witnesses have speculated was the officer’s ammunition clip.
As the man stands up, the officer backs away, keeping his gun trained on him.
Then the man uses his free hand to brush his own hair out of his face and the officer shoots him six times in a row. The man staggers and convulses as the bullets enter his body. The officer shouts out something that sounds like, “Get down! Get down!” The officer fires once more as the man takes his final steps before crumpling into the front window of the 7-Eleven.
The man has yet to be identified, but some local media have described him as a “transient,” though it’s unclear as to the source of such a characterization. The Huntington Beach Police Department have similarly refused to release the name of the officer involved in the shooting, however, the department has released a statement via Facebook. It reads, in part:
On 09/22/17 at about 9:30am, an officer from the Huntington Beach Police Department contacted a male outside the 7/11 store in the 6000 block of Edinger Avenue. As the officer began to talk to the subject, a verbal confrontation began, and the subject refused to listen to any commands given by the officer. As the incident escalated and became physically violent, the officer attempted several force options including his taser, which were all ineffective. The suspect violently attacked and assaulted the officer, and a struggle over the officer’s gun belt ensued. The officer tried to retain his weapon while the suspect continued to grab at the officer’s belt. The suspect removed an undetermined piece of equipment from the gun belt, and the officer fired his weapon at the suspect. The suspect was struck by gunfire and was transported to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries. The suspect’s identity will be released at a later time by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy addressed the press after videos of the shooting began to circulate on social media. He said, “This is clearly an assault on an officer. I don’t know what preceded that assault–we don’t know that yet. But clearly this person attacked our police officer and I don’t think that there’s any way an officer’s expected not to defend themselves.”
Local reaction to what occurred, however, isn’t quite so cut and dry. A small memorial was immediately erected where the man was shot and killed. And people began to congregate around the 7-Eleven in order to discuss the officer’s use of deadly force.
Brandon Dehaas, a neighbor who was outside the store involved in such discussions, said, “Somebody was coming up from the ground in an aggressive stance, turning, raising something. As an officer, I would have fired too because I’m going home to my wife and kids.”
Marie Sales, another neighbor, said, “The way I feel — these officers are not being trained right. And they don’t value human life, because if they valued human life, they would not jump and be so trigger-happy.”
Handy appeared to address such concerns himself during his brief press conference in front of the 7-Eleven. He said, “When you watch a video, you’re not in a fight for your life and a fight for your gun.”
LawNewz reached out to the Huntington Beach Police Department for further information and comment, but a response was not forthcoming at the time of publication. This space will be updated if and when a response is received.
[image via screengrab; video courtesy Snapchat]