Residents demanded answers Tuesday from elected officials in a California town where police have shot two suspects to death in 11 days.
Officers fatally shot a man carrying hedge trimmers earlier in the day after a slow-speed foot pursuit in a commercial district, reported the Monterey Herald.
The shooting – the third fatal police shooting this year by Salinas police – was recorded on high-resolution video that was widely shared on social media.
A woman called police shortly after noon to report the garden tool-wielding man had exposed himself and was trying to force his way into her home and kill her dog.
Police said the man was acting strangely and did not respond to their demands to drop the garden shears.
Authorities said the man, whose name has not been released, began waving the garden shears at officers, who then unsuccessfully tried to subdue him with Taser stun guns.
“The Taser did not work and as the officers tried to detain this individual, this individual pulled the gardening shears and actually attacked the officers with the gardening shears,” said Salinas police Cmdr. Vince Maiorana. “In response, the officers, fearing for their personal safety, shot this individual and he is now deceased.”
Police urged witnesses to the shooting to come forward, “regardless of what opinion they have.”
Officers shot to death Osman Hernandez earlier this month outside a market as he waved a lettuce-cutting knife, and police urged the public not to “jump to conclusions if (they) weren’t there.”
Video recorded by 19-year-old Yoanna Prieto, who is studying law enforcement at Hartnell College and witnessed the latest shooting, was widely shared before the crime scene was shut down.
Her original Facebook post included an apology for her profane complaints to police after they shot the man.
Officers approached her after the shooting, and she said she gave police a copy of the recording before posting it on social media.
The shaky, high-resolution video shows the man walking on a sidewalk as two officers follow him with their guns drawn.
Both officers fired a total of four shots at the man, who can be seen turning around to face police despite the cell phone camera’s shaky movement.
“There’s some split-second decisions that have to be made by the officer,” Maiorana said. “When the officer commanded this individual to drop the shears and to get down on the ground, this individual actually attacked the officer with the gardening shears.”
Witnesses disputed those claims, saying that the man appeared to be backing away from officers throughout the incident.
The case will be turned over to the district attorney’s office after the police department conducts its own investigation.
Watch cell phone video of the incident posted online by the Monterey Herald (warning: graphic violence and language):
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