Police Shoot and Kill Man Refusing to Drop Gun He Threatened Drivers with
Long Beach Police Department released footage on Wednesday, March 17 of the officer-involved shooting (OIS) that left a 26-year-old Latino man from Corona, A. L, dead on Feb. 6, 2021.
Under California law, the police department was required to release the footage to the public within 45 days of it being requested.
LBPD officers arrived at the area around 14th Street and Magnolia Avenue on Feb. 6 shortly after being dispatched at 9:15 p.m. in response to a 911 call about a man who was pointing a gun at people and cars in the area.
Audio of a 911 call is included in the video. During the recording, the caller also references an earlier call they made regarding the same incident.
Captioning in the video mentions “multiple 911 calls of a man with a gun,” but it is unclear exactly how many calls were made and whether or not they came from the same person or different people.
A responding officer first spotted L. walking on Magnolia Avenue. Seconds after the first officer arrived, two more police vehicles holding five additional officers joined him.
The first responding officer can be seen exiting his vehicle in the video and L. then immediately becomes visible. He is walking on the sidewalk with the gun in his hand pointed downward.
The officer approaches L. and commands him to put the gun down multiple times.
The footage shows L. raising his hands above his head while still holding onto the gun with his right hand and a hat with his left hand. He then turns, facing the police, both arms still raised. He lowers both arms, the right one holding the gun is horizontal as he bends his left arm to put his hat back on.
L. then extends his left arm, to where both arms are extended out horizontally to his sides. L. continues to hold on to the gun with his right hand.
He then bends his hands out in front of him and says, “You guys need to—”
At that moment five LBPD officers discharged their firearms, striking L. with multiple shots.
L. is seen collapsing to the ground instantly. His firearm falls on the sidewalk.
Witnesses who saw the shooting take place alleged that L. was in the process of surrendering when LBPD fired at him.
Fransisco Aleman was traveling via Magnolia Avenue on the night of Feb. 6, when he noticed multiple police surrounding L. and stopped to record the interaction.
Aleman recounted that L. had raised his arms in the air prior to the shooting.
“He gave up, he gave up, he gave up,” Aleman said.
Another witness that spoke to the Signal Tribune alleged that L. did not have a gun but had seen him raise his hands in the air.
“I was driving right past it when I saw the cops shoot him, I witnessed the murder. They shot him like 10-15 times, there was a bunch of police cars, they all shot him at the same time. He was unarmed with his hands up and they fired at him,” Veronica Zamora.
The body camera footage however, contradicts those claims.
Although LBPD stated that five officers discharged their weapons, the total number of shots fired is unknown.
“I was in shock. I’ve never seen anything like that in person. There were multiple cops shooting at him,” Zamora said.
No officers were injured.
In the footage provided by a second body-worn camera, one officer can be heard asking a colleague “You good?” before stating that L. dropped the firearm.
“We need to go provide medical,” an officer is heard saying.
The police begin looking for gloves before they begin approaching L’s body. At that point in the footage L. is unresponsive and laying completely still.
The officer wearing the body camera approaches L’s body and starts to put Loia’s hands behind his back in order to handcuff him, but an assisting officer suggests providing medical aid instead.
“Stay with us buddy,” one officer says as they begin patting down L’s still and bloodied body.
The body camera footage fades out and an evidence photo of the gun next to the sidewalk is displayed on the video.
“The Long Beach Fire Department arrived on scene and determined that Mr. L. was deceased,” stated the video in the incident conclusion.
L. is survived by his two young children, girlfriend, mother, siblings and cousins.
During a vigil held by his family and loved ones on Feb. 20 vigil at Seaside Park, L’s death was attributed to current methods of police training and racial bias.
“Officers are trained to fear,” a statement by L’s family said during a vigil in his memory on Feb. 20. It was added that Black and Latino individuals are often especially viewed as threats, which causes police to quickly react with deadly force rather than attempts to deescalate a situation.
According to data from the City of Long Beach, from 2015 to 2019, 33 individuals were involved in 32 separate officer involved shootings (OIS) with LBPD. Of these, 15 individuals, equivalent to 45.45% of the total, were Latino. Nine out of the 33 were Black, making up 27.27% of the total people who were in OIS with LBPD. In contrast, three white people were in OIS, making up 9.09%.
An independent investigation into L’s death is being made by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and is also being reviewed by LBPD, according to a police department press release.
“His smile lit up a room, his laughter was contagious, his entire being radiated sunshine and warmth. He was a son, a father, a brother, a cousin. But like many of us he had experienced deep pain, trauma and heartache by a young age. He was light and darkness,” the statement said in part.