SAN PABLO (CBS SF) – San Pablo police on Friday released surveillance and officer bodycam footage of a man shot and killed by officers last month in what appears to be a deliberate effort by the man’s side to force the police to kill him.
The incident happened on December 15, after police received a 911 call from a store employee on the 1300 block of Market Ave., who reported that a man was in the parking lot with a gun. The clerk told police that the man repeatedly took the magazine out of the gun and put it back in, and he feared the man was about to enter his business.
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The man fled the area in a red pickup before police arrived, but officers found the vehicle heading west on Market Ave. just outside the San Pablo city limits in North Richmond and initiated a high-risk traffic jam.
When officers tried to communicate with the suspect, they saw that he had blood on his hands. In video footage from multiple police cameras, one can hear officers repeatedly ordering the man to show both his hands, but the man did not comply.
The footage then shows the man stepping out of the truck with the gun, making a pulling motion on the gun with his other hand, pulling it to his chest and facing the officers. San Pablo police officers Monica Louis, Javier Rios, Shaun Swaleh and Waseemah Ali opened fire and beat the man. The officers immediately began providing life-saving assistance, but he died on the way to the hospital.
Image from police dashboard camera moments before a man with a BB gun was shot and killed by San Pablo police officers. (San Pablo Police Department)
It was later learned that the man was holding a BB pill gun that looked like a real gun. When officers told the man to raise his hands, he had instead made a pulling motion with the gun, even though there was no sliding mechanism on the gun. Detectives also learned that the man had told a witness that he intended to force officers to kill him. He had also said “goodbye” statements to family members earlier in the day and sent a picture of the BB gun to a family member with a message saying “goodbye.”
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Based on the investigation, San Pablo police said the incident no longer met the criteria under Assembly Act 1506 for state prosecutors to investigate a fatal officer-involved shooting of an unarmed civilian. The California Department of Justice identifies a BB pellet gun as a lethal weapon, even if it is useless or unloaded.
Picture of a BB gun sent by a man to a family member along with a note saying “goodbye”. (San Pablo Police Department)
San Pablo police are still coordinating the investigation with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office. Police said it released the bodycam footage and other information about the case in an attempt to create transparency and trust in the community.
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