Video Released in Fatal Police Shooting in Torrance

Video of the deadly police shooting of an armed stolen vehicle suspect in Torrance was released Wednesday.

The shooting occurred about 8 p.m. on Dec. 9, 2018, in the Ralphs parking lot at 1770 Carson St. as officers tried to talk the armed man out of a stolen 2000 Honda Civic, but the man refused numerous commands to surrender, according to Torrance police Sgt. Ronald Harris.

Christopher Mitchell, 23, of Los Angeles died at the scene, the coroner's office reported.

On the video, officers approached the vehicle and one officer opened the driver's side door and noticed a long gun in between Mitchell's legs and begin ordering the suspect to keep his hands visible. Mitchell, whose hands were originally on the steering wheel, drops his hands out of view of the officers and toward the weapon, Harris said.

The first officer ordered Mitchell not to move, pulled his gun, then commanded Mitchell out of the vehicle, but Mitchell did not comply, Harris said.

Mitchell then dropped his hands a second time toward the weapon and leaned forward, prompting officers to fire three shots, Harris said.

Despite being wounded, Mitchell refused orders to show his hands and had access to the weapon in-between his legs, Harris said.

An armored police vehicle was brought in to help pull Mitchell from the car. Officers performed life-saving measures on him, but he died on site, Harris said.

The weapon Mitchell had was a Crossman Phantom 1000 Air Rifle with an altered butt stock, Harris said.

"Individuals who alter butt stocks generally do so to make a long gun easier to conceal," he said. The altered weapon looks similar to a sawed-off shotgun.

The names of the officers involved in the shooting were not released because of "credible death threats made in graffiti at the site of the shooting," Torrance Police Department Chief Eve Irvine said.

The Special Operations Bureau of the Torrance Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office are investigating the shooting, Harris said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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