San Pablo police officers fatally shot a man carrying an BB gun (originally reported as an airsoft gun) in North Richmond Wendesday.
Police said they received a 911 call from a store clerk at Evergreen Produce Market on Market Avenue reporting a man was in the parking lot carrying what appeared to be a firearm. The clerk described seeing the man, who has not yet been identified, take the magazine out from the gun and put it back in. The clerk feared he would come into the business, police said.
The clerk then informed police the man recklessly drove out of the parking lot in a vehicle. Police responding to the scene located the vehicle traveling westbound on Market Avenue and initiated a traffic stop.
“The man pulled over to the side of the road and officers attempted to communicate with him,” police said. “During this exchange, officers noticed the man had blood on his hands. They gave him instructions to exit his vehicle and put his hands up. After a brief exchange of words, the man exited his car while holding a firearm in his right hand and faced the officers.”
The firearm was later determined to be a BB pellet gun that police said closely resembled a real gun.
“Officers repeated orders to the man to raise his hands while he mimicked the motion of racking the slide of a firearm as if making it ready to shoot,” police said. “The man then pulled the gun to his chest, and turned towards officers. Four San Pablo police officers discharged their service weapons striking the man.”
Officers provided medical aid until the arrival of paramedics, but the man was pronounced deceased en route to the hospital, police said.
During the investigation, “detectives learned the man made statements to a witness of his intention to force officers to kill him.” He had also made statements of “goodbye” to family members earlier in the day, police said.
The four officers involved in the incident were placed on paid administrative leave per Contra Costa County protocol.
San Pablo police say they’ll release officer body-worn camera footage from the incident “at the appropriate time,” and further information will be released “as it becomes available.”
While the California Department of Justice was called to investigate the incident, it later stepped away from the investigation after it was determined that the weapon the man possessed was a BB gun, which the California DOJ identifies as a deadly weapon, even if it is unloaded or inoperable. That information means the incident no longer met the criteria for a DOJ investigation under Assembly Bill 1506, according to police.
“The San Pablo Police Department is continuing to coordinate the investigation with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office as all three agencies have remain involved from the start of the investigation,” police said.