Police in San Bernardino, California, fatally shot a 23-year-old man on Saturday as he was fleeing, according to surveillance footage that shows an officer firing just seconds after arriving in an unmarked vehicle.
CCTV footage from a parking lot in San Bernardino, a city an hour east of Los Angeles, shows two officers driving up in an unmarked car about 8pm as Robert Adams stood in the lot.
Video Footage Shows Officer Shooting as Adams Fled
Adams is first seen standing at the rear of a parked car speaking to someone he seems to know. He appears to face the unmarked police vehicle and briefly step toward it, at which point two officers exit the driver’s and passenger seat doors with their guns drawn.
Adams turns to run in the opposite direction and moves just a few paces before one officer discharges his weapon. The bullet strikes Adams in the back, causing him to collapse to the ground. Adams was transported to a hospital where he later died from his injuries.
The video of the killing went viral on Monday and sparked national outrage, with civil rights lawyer Ben Crump calling it a “horrific execution” and Adams’s family urging authorities to file murder charges against the officer, who has not been identified.
Police Claims Adams was Armed, Warning Were Issued Before Fatal Shooting
The San Bernardino Police Department said in a statement that Adams was armed and approached their vehicle with a weapon in hand. The department also released images of Adams carrying what appears to be a handgun.
Police said the two officers were with a “specialized investigations unit” and were “conducting surveillance in an unmarked vehicle” after “receiving information that a black male armed with a gun was in the parking lot.”
The surveillance footage does not have audio but police claim that verbal warnings were issued before the officer shot Adams. A Taurus G3C handgun, which is capable of firing 12 rounds, was also recovered from the scene.
In the press release, police said an investigation into the incident is ongoing and claimed the social media video “fails to provide any details or context as to what occurred during the incident”.
“As with any incident of this nature, we must collect and review all of the information and available evidence (including video) before sharing videos.” Police Chief Darren Goodman added: “We are asking the community to please withhold their judgement on the situation until they have all the available facts and details.”
The killing comes weeks after police in Akron, Ohio, fired more than 60 rounds at Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man who was also fleeing, sparking widespread protests.