SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) – An armed man was shot and killed by a San Bernardino police officer during a violent confrontation which was caught on video late Thursday night.
The shooting occurred in the 200 block of West Base Line Street outside King Tut Liquor.
Cell phone video showed the officer and the suspect wrestling on the ground before the officer stands, produces a gun and opens fire on the suspect several times.
The victim was identified as 35-year-old Mark Matthew Bender Jr. of San Bernardino.
The incident began at 11:16 p.m. when an officer was dispatched to the liquor store on a report of a man who was jumping on vehicles in the parking lot, San Bernardino police Sgt. John Echevarria told reporters Friday morning.
The arriving officer gave the suspect commands to surrender, which the suspect ignored. When the suspect tried to enter into the liquor store, with customers inside, the officer moved to restrain him, Echevarria said.
“The suspect was large in size and was able to physically overpower the officer,” Echevarria said. “The suspect retrieved a weapon from his pocket and was turning to face the officer. At that time, an officer-involved shooting occurred.”
Body camera video released Friday afternoon shows the moments leading up to that deadly physical altercation.
In the video, the officer can be heard saying, “Hey, yo, man come here,” while pointing his gun at Bender.
“Why you got a gun on me,” Bender yells, while continuing to walk away from the officer.
“Let me see your hands,” the officer yells.
Bender briefly puts his hands in the air, before quickly dropping them in an apparent effort to pull his pants up. The officer then walks up to Bender and attempts to restrain him as Bender yells, “Don’t touch me.”
The officer manages to get Bender onto the ground. The pair wrestled briefly before getting back to their feet. The officer then fired four rounds. Bender was struck multiple times and died after being taken to a hospital.
A loaded 9mm handgun was recovered at the scene. The gun was not registered, police said.
Echevarria noted that the officer spotted the gun during the fight.
“The officer saw the weapon, and during the struggle, was able to disengage during that fight for control of that suspect, and was able to back away and protect himself by discharging his weapon,” Echevarria said.
Bender had a criminal history going back 17 years, Echevarria said, with arrests for allegations of attempted murder, false imprisonment, domestic violence, theft and possession of narcotics.
Several people came out and protested in the hours immediately following the shooting, and then again later Friday morning.
“You can’t justify a murder because he had a gun,” neighbor John Anderson said. “He had a gun, if he did, to protect themselves, probably from them. They’re the ones doing the damage, they’re the ones doing the hurt.”
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is involved in the investigation.