Some members of the black community in Southern California are expressing outrage over the latest incident of a police officer shooting and killing a black man, but cellphone video shows that he was pulling a gun during the altercation.
The violent and lethal confrontation unfolded outside a liquor store in the city of San Bernardino on Thursday.
Cellphone video from a bystander shows the police officer and the man wrestling before the man breaks free. The officer quickly pulls his gun and shoots at the man several times.
Authorities say that the man was taken to the hospital and later died of his injuries.
The San Bernardino Police Department posted a snippet of the cellphone video that shows the struggle and the shooting of the man.
Caution, graphic video:
Regarding the last Press Release we just published, here is video of the incident. The images can be graphic, ther… https://t.co/7sPRdrCikY— San Bernardino PD (@San Bernardino PD)1603472824.0
They identified the man as 35-year-old Mark Matthew Bender Jr.
Some of the neighborhood members expressed outrage at the incident and condemned the officer for being so quick to shoot at the man, implying that racism was a motive for his actions.
But a closer look at the cellphone video shows that the man was reaching for his gun and pulled it out during the altercation the moment before the officer fired on him.
KTLA-TV's Gigi Graciette posted a screenshot showing the gun.
BREAKING: Sources confirm suspect in San Bernardino OIS had a gun and its the item seen in his hand on cell phone… https://t.co/LnQ3fkRNFv— Gigi Graciette (@Gigi Graciette)1603460670.0
A statement released by the San Bernardino Police Department said that the officer had responded to a call about a man with a gun jumping on cars in the "King Tut" liquor store. He was near the store at the time and arrived quickly.
The officer confronted Bender, but the man refused to follow his commands and attempted to enter the liquor store, inside which were numerous employees and residents.
The statement said that the officer attempted to physically restrain Bender but that he was overpowered. It added that Bender reached for his gun and turned toward the officer when the officer shot at him four times.
Police said they provided Bender with medical aid but that he died at the hospital. They also claimed that they recovered a firearm at the scene. The 9mm handgun was loaded and not registered, and Bender was not legally allowed to possess a gun at the time.
The statement also lists Bender's long history of arrests for violent crimes, including false imprisonment, criminal threats, and attempted murder. In addition he also had been arrested for domestic violence, possession of narcotics for sale, grand theft, and various probation violations.
Despite the report of the gun, some community members still accused the police of acting inappropriately.
"You can't justify a murder because he had a gun," said John Anderson, a resident of the neighborhood, to KCAL-TV. "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."
Here's a local news video about the lethal shooting:
Officer involved shooting in San Bernardino caught on camera | ABC7 www.youtube.com