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Video: Cop fatally shoots man who attacked him, pulled object from officer's utility belt

A cellphone video screenshot shows the moment just before a police officer fatally shot a man Friday morning outside a 7-Eleven in Huntington Beach, California. The man had just pulled an object from the officer's utility belt (see man's right hand) following a struggle in which the suspect threw punches at the officer. (Image source: Los Angeles Times video screenshot)

What happened?

  • A police officer was backing his cruiser out of a 7-Eleven parking lot in Huntington Beach, California, Friday morning when he stopped and flashed his headlights at a man dressed in dark clothing, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a bystander who captured video of the incident.
  • The officer exited his cruiser and approached the man, the paper said.
  • Cellphone video shows the man moving toward the officer — and even though the man is apparently hit by a Taser, he keeps advancing.
  • The officer backs away with what appears to be a weapon drawn, possibly a Taser, the Orange County Register reported, and appears to tell the man to stop.

Image source: KCBS-TV video screenshot

  • The man then throws punches at the officer, who manages to get the man in a headlock after which the pair struggle on the ground.
  • A second video shows the man pull an object from the officer's utility belt.

Image source: KCBS-TV video screenshot

  • Then the officer fires shots at the man, who falls to the sidewalk after the seventh shot.

Image source: Los Angeles Times video screenshot

  • The man was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

What are police saying?

  • Police said the officer was not on a dispatched call, the Los Angeles Times reported, and that it's not clear why he approached the man.
  • Police Chief Robert Handy told the Times the man wouldn’t obey any of the officer’s commands and that when the incident became violent, the officer used his Taser — but it wasn’t effective.
  • “The suspect was resisting and clearly the officer was defending himself and trying to take the suspect into custody,” Handy said, according to the Times. “Just because the person didn't have a weapon, if he's struggling with that officer and actively assaulting that officer and trying to take his weapon away, trying to take equipment away from his belt that can harm him — he has every right and every responsibility and we train them to defend themselves with lethal force.”

Image source: KCBS-TV video screenshot

  • The officer, who has been with the department 2.5 years, was placed on administrative leave Friday, the Times reported.
  • The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will investigate the case, which is standard for officer-involved shootings in Huntington Beach, the paper added.
  • The officer had a body camera, but Handy told the Times he doesn't know if it was turned on.

What do we know about the fatally shot man?

  • Dillan Tabares, 27, was a Navy veteran who was less-than-honorably discharged and had mental health issues, his mother, Tiffany Tabares, told KCBS-TV.
  • "I don’t know what happened in the very beginning," she told the station, adding that she hopes there was no "ill intention" involved. "I wish I had full video of everything that happened, as painful as it is to watch. ... I want to know what the truth is. I don’t have an agenda of, you know, ‘Cops are horrible.’ I respect them, I appreciate them. I just think that mistakes were made, and I don’t think my kid needed to be shot seven times."

Image source: KCBS-TV video screenshot

  • Tabares also said she's concerned for the officer, telling KCBS, “I truly, truly hope that the officer isn’t horrified by what he did ... I just hope he’s not ruined for his days, too, because I don’t know you can go through something like that and not have it be extremely traumatic for him."

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