A California police officer shot and killed a man Friday after a struggle in a convenience store parking lot, a suspicious shooting that was filmed by witnesses and caused an instant backlash on the internet.
The footage, posted Friday morning by Twitter users @Cali_Funk1 and @OCHAWKNEWS, comprises just a few seconds of footage after a Huntington Beach Police Department officer apparently struggled with a man outside a 7-Eleven.
It’s unclear whether the officer was responding to a call or just stopped at the gas station on his own, Angie Bennett, a spokeswoman for the department, told Newsweek.
The footage shows the officer kneeling down over the man in the parking lot outside the store, struggling to arrest him.
A walkie talkie and sunglasses are scattered on the ground.
At one point, the man reaches into the officer’s utility belt and pulls out a small object, then wraps his arm around the officer’s leg in what appears to be an attempt to break free.
The officer backs up as the man hops up from the ground with the object still in his hands, but does not approach the officer, who leaves the frame of the video as he backs away from the suspect.
The officer opens fire seven times until the man stumbles backwards then collapses to the ground.
After the man falls, the officer grabs his walkie talkie and says, “Suspect’s down.”
Bennett told Newsweek the man was taken to the hospital but later died.
She declined to comment on what led up to the shooting, whether the suspect had a weapon or what the suspect took from the officer’s belt.
Yanely Zillegaz, 25, was working at the Jack in the Box next door when customers started yelling at the drive-thru about the shooting.
“I just saw a guy get shot like seven times!” one person told her.
“What? What are you talking about?” she replied.
Zillegaz said she couldn’t hear the gunshots but looked outside and saw the massive response.
“There were so many cop cars and news trucks,” she said. “…It was pretty intense. Everyone was confused.”
Bennett said there have been rumors floating around on the internet that the shooting was related to a robbery or a hostage situation, both of which are inaccurate.
The shooting is currently under investigation so “very limited information” is able to be released, Bennett said.
Police procedure does not generally permit officers to used deadly force unless the person is a risk to the officer or the public.
Many on Twitter were quick to question the officer’s…