Police View “Obstructed” When Officers Opened Fire on Suspect in Long Beach

According to a press release, the officers open fire after seeing the suspect reach into his waist band. After reviewing cell phone footage, some experts believe that the suspect did not reach into his waist band and that the use of force was unjustified.

Long Beach Police officers had an "obstructed view" when they opened fire on a man who was allegedly running from a standoff Sunday, according to a press release issued Monday.

"Long Beach officers, who were located on the beach, east of the foot of the stairs with an obstructed view due to palm trees and shrubbery, heard gunshots from above and saw the suspect running toward the populated beach area," the press release stated. "The suspect failed to surrender and after officers observed him reaching or his waist band, an officer involved shooting occurred."

Former LAPD detective Tim Williams, a police use of force expert, however, believes the shooting was unjustified. A witness recorded the shooting with his cell phone camera.

"I do not see (the suspect) reach his waist band at all," Williams said. "From my observations from looking at this video tape, (the shooting) is not justified, I think it’s objectively unreasonable and it’s, my opinion, is excessive force."

In the video, you see the suspect running down stairs, being chased by police dogs with both hands visible, before being shot.

The incident began about 2:45 p.m. Sunday at a Target store in the 1600 block of South Alameda Street in Compton where sheriff's deputies were assisting security officers in detaining a man who allegedly tried to commit a robbery at the store, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a press release.

As deputies assisted security officers, the man "pulled out a large pair of scissors" - apparently garden shears - from his waistband, then fled to a SUV and drove away from the area with authorities in pursuit, the press release said.

The SUV came to a stop in the 1800 block of East Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, where deputies said the man refused to come out of the vehicle.

About 15 minutes later, the man got out of the SUV allegedly holding a large wooden stick.

In an attempt to detain the uncooperative suspect, the press release said, deputies used a stun bag, but it had no effect on the man, and he again ran from deputies.

Long Beach police officers who were there to help apprehend the man opened fire after confronting him, the press release said.

The suspect was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Witnesses told NBC4 that the suspect did not appear to be aggressive. Officials have not yet said whether a weapon had been found on the suspect after he was shot.

Officer involve shootings in Long Beach have more than doubled in the last year, according to an NBC4 report.

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