Security camera video shows a man was armed with a handgun before officers killed him in a shooting that led to weekend protests in South Los Angeles, police said Monday.
The video has not been released, but LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference Monday that it "clearly shows" Carnell Snell Jr., 18, with a semiautomatic handgun as he was pursued by officers. He turned toward officers during the foot chase, which occurred at the end of a brief vehicle pursuit.
Police previously confirmed a handgun was found at the scene, but did not say whether Snell was holding the weapon.
The Snell shooting occurred Saturday afternoon after Los Angeles police said they tried to pull over a car with paper license plates at about 1 p.m. Officers believed the vehicle was stolen, Beck said.
After the short chase the driver and a passenger, later identified as Snell, in the back seat got out and fled.
"At one point during their foot pursuit, which was 200 to 300 yards in total, they observed him remove a handgun from his waistband and hold it in his left hand," Beck said. "He ran into a driveway in the 1700 block of 107th Street and while holding the handgun in his left hand, he turned in the direction of the pursuing officers, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred."
The coroner's office confirmed Sunday that Snell, struck by two rounds, was the man who was killed. He suffered a gunshot wound to the upper body and knee, police said.
Snell's family lives in another house in the front of the property where the shooting occurred. A back gate there was riddled with six bullet holes.
Police have disclosed little about their investigation other than to say a fully loaded handgun was found at the scene, about five feet from Snell's body, Beck said. The weapon had not been fired, Beck said.
In a statement, the LAPD said investigators will gather evidence related to the shooting to determine whether deadly force was necessary and the district attorney's office will review it to see if any criminal charges are warranted.
Body-worn cameras have not been deployed in the division where the shooting occurred, Beck said.
The shooting set off weekend protests and a gathering by a small group of protesters Monday morning at LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. Residents and family members also left candles, flowers and other items at a memorial in honor of Snell near his home.
"I have to take my son everywhere he goes," said La Tasha Christon, a neighbor who stopped by the memorial Monday morning with her 16-year-old son. "I have to watch every move he makes because I don't want that to be his reality, that he will never get the chance to go to college because someone, either an officer or another young black man, reacts too quickly and takes his life."
A crowd of protesters Sunday dwindled as the night wore on and police in protective gear eventually swarmed to move about a dozen people away from the area near Snell's home. Demonstrators were joined by at least three drivers doing donuts on the street and several others spray painting graffiti as officers stood by.
Four people were arrested, police said.
There were smaller protests in the same area a night earlier and at the residence of Mayor Eric Garcetti. In a statement, Garcetti urged everyone to wait for "the completion of a thorough and proper investigation."
Earlier Sunday, activists called on Los Angeles police to publicly name the officers involved in the shooting, which occurred near Snell's home. They also appealed for a quick and transparent investigation.
"We don't want to see a cover-up. We don't want to see a whitewash," Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable said after meeting with the Snell's family. "We have a family that's grieving. We have a community that's grieving."
Snell was the third black man in five days to die in confrontations with police in Southern California. Last Tuesday, Alfred Olango was fatally shot by an officer in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, triggering three days of angry and sometimes violent protests. Olango was shot when he took a "shooting stance" and pointed at an officer with what turned out to be a 4-inch vape pen — an electronic cigarette device.
On Friday, Reginald Thomas died after being shot with a Taser by police in Pasadena. He was armed with a knife and his wife described him as mentally ill. His brother told a 911 dispatcher that Thomas was high and had a history of violence.
Meanwhile officials were investigating a second weekend shooting involving officers. A man armed with what turned out to be a replica handgun was shot and killed as police responded to reports of a man with a gun Sunday afternoon, according to Officer Liliana Preciado. She said the shooting in South Los Angeles happened when officers approached two Latino men, one of whom matched the description in the initial call of an armed subject.
The man died at a hospital.
Replica guns are usually equipped with bright orange tips, but the tip of the replica was painted black, Beck said Monday.