ORANGE COUNTY, CA (KTLA) — Authorities released new video Tuesday showing a scuffle that led up to a deputy shooting a man who appeared to reach for a gun at a Walmart in California in January.
Orange County sheriff’s deputies responded to the store after an employee called 911 to report that two people were walking around with a suspected fraudulent receipt and high-priced items in a cart, Orange County sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Anderson said.
The deputies arrived and asked an employee if she wanted to refuse service to the two customers, the body-worn camera footage shows. She says yes and points the deputies to a man and woman who were pushing a cart full of merchandise.
“They are saying you guys have like stolen before or whatever, but they want you out of the store,” a deputy says to the couple.
The two are then asked to leave the store.
“You guys are detained right now,” one deputy is heard saying. “You’re not going to jail, but if you guys want to make this a fuss, then we can do that. Let’s just leave the store peacefully while people try to shop.”
As the deputies were leading the man out of the store, one of the deputies notices a knife in the man’s pocket.
The man then appears to reach for an item on his waist.
“Don’t reach for it. Get your f—ing hand off the knife,” the deputy is heard saying.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry sir,” the man responds.
That’s when the deputy attempts to handcuff the man, who begins to call for the woman who was with him and yell “can someone help me” as he appears to try to break free of the deputies’ hold.
“I’m not trying to do nothing, please …I’m freaking out please,” he says.
“Hey dude, you’re about to get punched, bro,” one deputy says.
The scuffle continues and the man ends up on the ground as deputies and one civilian try to restrain him.
“He’s got a gun, he’s got a gun. Shoot him, shoot him,” a deputy then suddenly screams.
One gunshot is then heard and the man lies still, but is still heard speaking.
“I’m dying,” the man says.
A deputy reports shots fired to dispatchers and says that the subject has a gunshot wound to the head.
The man was taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery before being booked into an Orange County jail, where he was recovering from his injuries Tuesday.
The sheriff’s department released still images that appear to show the man gripping the gun with an uncuffed hand during the scuffle on the ground.
Different images also show a knife and gun that officials said were recovered from the scene.
The woman who was with the man fled the scene with another man in a vehicle, which was later found in Midway City, about 20 miles away from the Walmart, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The two were later detained.
The night of the shooting, a witness told KTLA the store was filled with shoppers when the gunfire erupted.
Witness Leslie Dash said she heard someone scream, “No!”
“And then next you hear a big gunshot and everyone’s screaming and running out the back,” Dash said.
Sheriff’s Department Capt. Chad Taylor at the time said it was fortunate no further injuries resulted from the incident.
“The time of day and the number of people in there. The incident could have escalated even further,” Taylor said. “But luckily for us in this incident we have no additional casualties other than the suspect.”
The Orange County District Attorney’s office is now conducting an investigation into the actions of the deputies involved, and the Sheriff’s Department is looking into whether the actions of the deputies were within policy, Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said in the video release.