A video posted on Twitter on Friday shows a Huntington Beach police officer fatally shooting a man multiple times in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven convenience store.
The man was hospitalized but could not survive, police said.
The video of the shooting was posted by a user named Timo on Twitter.
It shows the officer struggling with the man on the ground in the parking lot. During the grappling, the unidentified man grabbed some item from the officer’s utility belt. It is not clear from the video what the item was.
As soon as the officer realizes that the man has grabbed something from his belt, he pushes him away by the back of his neck and backs away, unholstering his pistol.
Freed, the man got up. The officer is heard saying “get down!” before he starts firing at the man.
Sound of up to seven gunshots can be heard, before the man collapses on the ground.
The video, which was widely shared on social and mainstream media, shows only the end of the confrontation, and the circumstances that resulted in the shooting were unclear including why police were initially called to the convenience store in the first place, reports said.
Police spokeswoman Officer Angie Bennett said the officer involved in the shooting had contacted the male individual outside the 7-Eleven at 6012 Edinger Avenue and they “got into altercation.”
After that, an officer-involved shooting took place in which the male was injured and he was taken to hospital with unknown injuries, Bennett said, according to WTVR CBS 6 News.
Bennett also said that investigation was in the initial stage and that they will not be releasing any further details of the incident at the time, the Los Angeles Times reported.
However, the police defended the officer’s act.
“Clearly, this person attacked our police officer,” Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy told reporters Friday. “And I don’t think that there’s any way an officer’s expected not to defend themselves,” CBS Los Angeles reported.
Handy added that the officer involved was not a rookie and was a two-and-a-half year veteran of the department.
However, he has been placed on an administrative leave till the investigation is going on, the Orange County Register reported.
The bystander who shot the video and didn’t want to be identified told CBS Los Angeles that the victim was not listening to the police officer.
Some also said that the video did not tell the whole story as there can be many factors behind the officer-involved shooting.
“The big question here is what does this officer know that I don’t know,” said Charles “Sid” Heal, a retired L.A. County sheriff’s commander and shooting expert, according to the Times.
Heal pointed out that the officer involved might have heard something threatening from the man or about the man. “It is almost a panic shooting because of how quickly he shoots.”
Listing the reasons of what might have escalated the situation, Heal said that the officer “could have thought the man grabbed his taser” and that weapon can disable an officer.
In 2017, there have been seven officer-involved shootings. Earlier this month, two Huntington Beach police officers got wounded by their own gunfire while confronting a knife-yielding man, reports said.
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