Police shot and killed a man at close range in Huntington City Beach on Saturday afternoon as shocked witnesses watched and shouted from the pier and bike path.
The shooting happened around 3:15 p.m. on the sand just south of the Huntington Beach pier and near the trail, said Jennifer Carey, a spokeswoman for the Huntington Beach police.
Witnesses said three police officers were chasing a man dressed in a white t-shirt and denim shorts as he passed under the pier.
Police said he had a gun and when he failed to comply with ‘multiple commands’ they opened fire.
Several knocks rang out. There was a pause, then more rounds.
“We started hearing pop, pop, pop,” said Hector Tovar, a Chino Hills resident who visits Huntington Beach every Saturday. “I thought it was fireworks, that’s how many shots there were.”
The US Open of Surfing is underway at the beach this weekend, though apparently the day’s competition is over. But an independent videographer said hundreds of people were in the area at the time.
The cops just shot a guy in Huntington Beach 😨 pic.twitter.com/63xXdMdr8E
— Ana Leticia📍 (@AnaLeticiaGIS) September 25, 2021
Ana Leticia saw the police chase the man before shooting him. She posted a photo on social media just after the shooting showing half a dozen officers watching the man as he lay on the ground. At least one officer appeared to point a gun at him.
“I thought I heard fireworks – when I turned around those cops were following the guy,” Leticia said in a direct message on Twitter. “Then they shot him.”
The man, described as Latino, was taken to hospital, Carey said. His name, age and condition were not immediately available.
The officers who shot the man were wearing body cameras, which were activated during the incident, Carey said. The images will be part of the investigation.
Police said a firearm was recovered from the scene.
A viewer video shared with TMZ shows three officers, weapons drawn, approaching a man who was already rolling on his back. They were standing about six feet from him.
“They tasered him?” a person could be heard asking in the video.
Within seconds, two more officers join the group, also with guns pointed at the man. While lying on his side, the man points his finger, at which point the officers open fire. It was unclear from the grainy video if the man was holding anything in his hands.
At least five pops can be heard in rapid succession. The crowd yelps and screams.
A man was shot dead and taken to a local hospital. The status is currently unknown.
— Huntington Beach PD (@HBPoliceDept) September 25, 2021
Officers waited about 30 seconds with their guns still pointed at the man, who was now lying motionless, before intervening to remove items from him, while appearing to tend to his injuries.
“Yeah, we’ve seen it all,” one person could be heard at the end of the video. “I know, we could have gotten shot, my God,” the person added.
Cambree Evans, 21, of Gilbert, Arizona, was also among bystanders who crowded around the pier and boardwalk at the time of the shooting. She and her boyfriend were visiting California to celebrate their anniversary.
Evans and her boyfriend were in a souvenir shop along the beach when she saw an officer quickly jump into his patrol car and drive towards the pier with wailing sirens, the Arizona resident recalls . Other officers ran in that direction.
As the couple approached the parking lot where their car was parked, they saw more officers and patrol vehicles swarming the area where the man lay motionless on the sand.
About 15 minutes after the shooting, Evans saw paramedics bring the man into an ambulance.
Although the US Open surfing competition drew beachgoers on Saturday, the competition had ended the day filming took place, a World Surf League spokesperson said in a statement.
“The WSL is aware of the incident which occurred near the Huntington Beach event site after competition had concluded for the day. All athletes and staff are safe and taken care of,” the statement read.
Orange County Sheriff’s investigators are working with Huntington Beach police to investigate the shooting, officials said.
Local activists began organizing around Saturday’s shooting and were planning action, calling for the officers involved to be held accountable, said Black Lives Matter-Huntington Beach founding member Tory Johnson.
“That’s what we’re fighting for. We fight police aggression, whether it’s black, brown, purple,” Johnson said. “What we’re saying is you can’t kill minorities and you can’t treat people a certain way just because they look different from you or they don’t fit. in the mold of an average citizen of our city.”