HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) – The area outside a convenience store where a transient was shot and killed by a Huntington Beach police officer Friday morning became a hotbed of tension between supporters of the officer and sympathizers with the victim.
The shooting was reported around 9:40 a.m. in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven at 6012 Edinger Avenue in Huntington Beach.
Video of the incident – which was also captured on cell phone video and posted to social media – showed an officer wrestling with the suspect. The video appears to show the suspect grab an item from the officer’s belt prior to the shooting. At one point, the officer backed away and fired seven shots at the suspect, who then fell to the ground. The officer can be heard telling the suspect to “get down.”
He was taken to a hospital where he later died, police confirmed to CBS2. No officers were hurt.
“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.”
The circumstances that led up to the shooting were unclear, along with why officers were initially called the convenience store. Police said the the involved officer had several years of experience.
A man who shot the video and didn’t want to be identified told CBS2 News the victim, “Wasn’t listening, he turned around and tried to throw a punch at the cop.”
Plywood covered a shattered storefront window a bullet from the officer’s gun penetrated. An earlier unconfirmed report that someone inside the convenience store was grazed by the bullet turned out to be erroneous.
“Cops are killing these kids because they look like they’re doing something, and they’re not doing anything,” one man said to another outside a vigil for the victim. “My son was killed by a police officer, so I know how dirty they are.”