LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck says one of two men fatally shot by officers in separate incidents during the weekend had pointed what turned out to be a replica handgun at officers.
The shooting occurred after LAPD gang officers went to 48th Street and Ascot Avenue late Sunday afternoon in response to a report of a man with a gun, possibly a Beretta, Beck said.
About 5 p.m., the two officers spotted a man matching the description of the gunman, Beck said.
“As the officers approached the male to initiate a pedestrian stop, the male turned and pointed a handgun at the officers, at which time there was an officer-involved shooting,” Beck said at news conference Monday at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. Demonstrators also marched Monday night to the department’s Newton Division headquarters to protest the weekend shootings. The march was relatively small and peaceful.
Beck says the orange tip of the replica gun had been colored black, giving the gun the appearance of being a deadly weapon.
He says both officers involved in Sunday’s shooting were wearing body cameras and the footage supports their accounts while refuting claims that the man was shot on the ground.
“It clearly supports the officers’ prior statements and versions of this incident, and it clearly refutes any reports that this individual … was shot while he was laying on the ground,” Beck said. “That did not happen.”
Chief Says Snell Was Carrying Loaded Handgun
The chief says that in another shooting on Saturday the man who was killed — later identified as 18-year-old Carnell Snell — was holding a loaded handgun and turned toward officers.
In Snell’s shooting, officers tried to pull over a car he was in because it had paper plates that didn’t match the year of the vehicle — a possible indication of a stolen car and something commonly seen in drive-by shootings, Beck said.
Snell, seated in the back, looked at officers and then ducked down “as if to hide from them,” Beck said.
When officers tried to pull the car over, Snell jumped out holding his waistband and the foot pursuit began, he said.
After a chase of several hundred yards, Beck said, Snell took a gun from his waistband and turned in the direction of the pursuing officers, prompting the shooting.
Snell died at the scene and police recovered a fully loaded semi-automatic gun with one round in the chamber within 5 feet of where Snell lay, Beck said, adding that the weapon had not been fired.
Beck did not say whether one or more officers fired, how close they were to Snell, or whether the car turned out to be stolen.
The officers were not wearing body cameras, but a surveillance video from a business clearly showed Snell was armed, Beck said.
Protesters Question Beck’s Account Of Events
A group of people protested outside Beck’s news conference, chanting, “No justice, no peace, no racist police.” Three were arrested for unlawful assembly after refusing orders to leave police headquarters and take their demonstration to a public street.
The protesters rejected the police department’s description of the shooting and called on them to release the video if they have nothing to hide, something Beck said was being considered but could only happen when all the evidence has been collected and analyzed.
“We’re so tired,” said protester Jade Daniels, 24. “These kids don’t want to die. What black person would point a gun at a group of cops?”
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