As the Latino community in Anaheim, CA, erupted in violent protests after the Anaheim police fatally shot an unarmed man when the man’s back was to the officer, in view of witnesses, there was a second fatal shooting by officers last night.
The latest incident happened just before midnight on Sunday when officers on patrol saw a stolen silver Lexus SUV driving slowly with two males and a female inside, according to Anaheim police. The officers tried to follow the vehicle, but the suspects took off, then lost control of the vehicle and jumped out. One man and a woman fled in one direction, and the second male suspect took off in another direction. That second male suspect reportedly fired at officers, who then returned fire, striking the suspect.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene and his weapon was recovered, according to police.
The second shooting came as two Anaheim police officers were placed on administrative leave after one of them fatally shot another man, 24-year-old Manuel Diaz. The police said Diaz was a known gang member.
After the first shooting, a crowd swarmed the Anaheim Police headquarters lobby, chanting “no justice, no peace” and “cops, pigs, murderers” to protest the shooting as the police tried to hold a news conference.
After the shooting, the neighborhood erupted in anger, with people throwing rocks and bottles at officers who were securing the scene for investigators. In response, the police detained an “instigator,” prompting the crowd to advance on the officers, who then fired bean bags and pepper balls at them. Video captured by a KCAL-TV crew showed people ducking and screaming, adults shielding a child and a man yelling at police as they point a weapon at him. The video also shows a police dog charging people sitting on the grass, including a woman and child in a stroller, and biting a man in the arm.
Police spokesman Sgt. Bob Dunn said the dog accidentally got out of a patrol car. He said he didn’t know whether police warned the crowd to disperse before firing the rubber bullets and pepper balls.
In explaining the shooting, police said the officers approached three men in an alleyway when they ran away. One of the officers chased Diaz to the front of an apartment complex where the shooting occurred.
Mayor Tom Tait said he will ask the state attorney general to assist in the probe.
“Transparency is essential. Whatever the truth is, we will own it,” Tait said.
Tension between demonstrators and authorities continued Sunday night as crowds gathered near the shooting scene. A Dumpster was set on fire and moved into the street several times; firefighters had to put out the flames and officers moved it out of the way.
Dunn said five people, two of them juveniles, were arrested during Saturday’s unrest.
Crystal Ventura, a 17-year-old who witnessed the shooting, told the Orange County Register that the man had his back to the officer. Ventura said the man was shot in the buttocks area. The man then went down on his knees and then was struck by another bullet in the head. Ventura said another officer handcuffed the man, who by then was on the ground and not moving.
“They searched his pockets, and there was a hole in his head, and I saw blood on his face,” Ventura told the newspaper.