Video released of fatal police shooting near Hoover High School
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego Police Department Friday released video footage of the fatal shooting by seven officers of a man who pointed an airsoft pellet gun at them during a confrontation in a residential neighborhood near Hoover High School.
The events that led to the law enforcement shooting — the second involving SDPD personnel in less than a week — began about 3:50 p.m. Thursday, when a woman made a 911 call to report that she and a female companion had been confronted with a pistol-wielding man in the 4300 block of Menlo Avenue.
The caller told a dispatcher that before she and her friend drove off, the man moved his hand over the top of the gun as if racking a cartridge into its firing chamber, Lt. Matt Dobbs said.
When patrol personnel arrived a short time later, the victims directed them to the suspect, who by that time was about a block to the south, standing on a sidewalk near El Cajon Boulevard in the Teralta East section of City Heights, Dobbs said.
Seeing that the man was carrying what appeared to be firearm, the officers took cover and began shouting at him to drop it. Moments later, he raised his hands, and the gun fell to the ground.
For several minutes, the suspect, who appeared to be wearing a white mask over the lower part of his face, stood next to a parked vehicle, appearing to adjust his pants or belt as officers continued to order him in vain to back away from the gun.
About 4 p.m., the man picked up the pellet gun and aimed it toward the officers, prompting several of them to open fire. Struck by at least one round, the suspect fell to the ground.
Despite the suspect’s injuries, he “was still moving and was in control of the weapon and had it pointed in the officers’ direction, prompting a second volley of shots,” according to Dobbs.
The officers then “developed a plan to use a combination of non- lethal options, including a bean bag round and canine, to safely take him into custody,” Dobbs said.
Medics pronounced the suspect dead at the scene shortly before 4:30 p.m. His name and those of the officers who fired on him have not been released.
It was only after officers looked over the gun that the suspect had been carrying that they realized it was not a real firearm, Dobbs said.
The video footage of the deadly encounter released by police this afternoon was captured by several officers’ uniform-worn cameras and the cellphone of a resident who recorded the shooting through a front window of home adjacent to the spot where the suspect fell and died.
After SDPD homicide detectives investigate the shooting, the county District Attorney’s Office will review their findings to determine whether the involved officers bear any criminal liability for their actions.
The San Diego Community Review Board on Police Practices, the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office also will review the case, Dobbs said.
On Sunday evening, three San Diego police officers opened fire on an arrestee who allegedly slipped out of a set of handcuffs at downtown SDPD headquarters, grabbed an officer’s gun and fired at least one round.
The suspect, Keith Bergman, 25, suffered non-life-threatening wounds. He was released from medical care two days later and has been booked into county jail on suspicion of a slew of crimes, including attempted murder.