EL CAJON (AP) — A black man reportedly acting erratically at a strip mall in suburban San Diego was shot and killed by police after pulling an object from his pocket, pointing it at officers and assuming a “shooting stance,” authorities said.
One of the officers tried and failed to subdue the unidentified man with a stun gun before the other officer fired several times, El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said at a late night news conference. Davis would not say what the object was, but acknowledged it was not a weapon.
Before police announced the death, dozens of protesters gathered at the shooting scene, with some claiming the man was shot with his hands raised. Police disputed that and produced a frame from cell phone video taken by a witness at the scene that appeared to show the man in the “shooting stance” as two officers approached with guns drawn.
The fatal shooting comes just weeks after black men were shot and killed by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in Charlotte, North Carolina, where violent protests broke out.
The El Cajon protest was angry but peaceful. Several dozen people, most of them black, gathered and some cursed at officers guarding the scene. They chanted “black lives matter!” and “hands up, don’t shoot!”
In a statement, El Cajon police said they “would like to assure the community that a complete and thorough investigation will be completed.”
Davis urged the community to remain calm and said the investigation will be thorough.
“This will be transparent,” he said. “This will be looked at by multiple sets of eyes, and not just ours.”
The district attorney was on scene and also will investigate.
Police said they were called to the mall about 15 miles east of San Diego shortly after 2 p.m. after receiving calls of a man who was “not acting like himself” and walking in traffic. They say he refused “multiple” orders to take his hand from his pocket.
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