Just minutes before Alan Edward Norried was shot and killed by police, his mother ran out of their Huntington Beach home frantically screaming for help and crying that she had been beaten, police and neighbors said Monday.
The revelation that it may have been Laverne Norried's desperate pleas that alerted police to trouble at the family's white stucco house on Red Coach Drive came 24 hours after her 26-year-old son was killed Sunday by two Huntington Beach police officers.
Police say Norried was shot when he "charged" at two officers with a martial arts weapon in each hand. The officers were not injured and their names were not released.
The case is being investigated by Orange County district attorney's office, and, in keeping with Police Department policy, the two officers have been placed on administrative leave with pay.
Norried's parents, Rubin and Laverne Norried, who declined to discuss the case with reporters Monday, spent part of the day talking to Huntington Beach police investigators. Rubin Norried did say, however, that he was not at home when his son was shot and killed.
Huntington Beach Police Lt. Bill Mamelli confirmed Monday that the original disturbance call reported a woman standing in the yard of the Norried's home "screaming about having been beaten." It was that call, he said, that prompted the department to send the two uniformed officers to the Norried home shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday.
Two neighbors in the normally quiet, residential tract of $400,000 homes near Greer Park independently confirmed the report.
"She came screaming out the back door, yelling for somebody to call the police," said one neighbor, who asked not to be named. "One of my neighbors called me and told me to lock my door, that something weird was going on over there. A while later, we heard the shots and looked out and the police were there."
A second person who lives near the Norrieds said that before the police arrived a lawn chair was hurled from the Norried's patio area into an adjoining neighbor's yard.
"There was quite a lot of yelling going on over there," said the woman, who also declined to give her name. "But that wasn't unusual. There was always a lot of noise over there."
Bob Avenatti, a 16-year resident of the area who lives on Gas Light Drive behind the Norried home, said he did not hear the disturbance that led to the police call. But he said neighbors had often complained about Alan Norried playing music loud at all hours.
"You'd wake up at 4 a.m. and hear him playing rock music," he said.
At 11 a.m. on the day of the shooting, Avenatti said he spotted the younger Norried sprawled on a picnic table at Greer Park, apparently asleep.
"I wasn't sure who it was," Avenatti said. "We thought it was a dead body, so we called the police. They drove up over there on the park and then Alan got up and started walking toward them. Then he dropped down like he was having a seizure, flailing around on the ground and acting silly, I guess to impress the cops. They called off the paramedics (who had arrived at the scene) and then he came walking this way."
Like other neighbors interviewed Monday, Avenatti said the Norrieds kept to themselves and rarely socialized with people in the area. He said people knew of Alan Norried by reputation only, and it was not a particularly good one.
"He used to sit outside with no shirt on and play his guitar real loud," Avenatti said. "I feel bad that this happened to the boy. But I feel sorry, too, for the cops who had to go in there."
Another neighbor said she had to warn her children to steer clear of Norried for fear they could get hurt. In the past, she said it was not unusual to hear what sounded like gunshots coming from the Norried home.
"He would shoot off things that sounded like cannons," she said. "I feel awful for the mother and father, but I can't say I am surprised this happened."
Several neighbors said they believed that Norried had dropped out of high school and did not have a job at the time of his death. He was partial to karate and the martial arts, one neighbor said, recalling that when Norried was young, he used to dress in a Ninja costume for Halloween.
According to authorities, it was that fondness for the martial arts that may have led to his death Sunday.
When the officers were let inside the Norried house about 1:15 p.m., a police spokesman said Alan Norried was wielding two weapons--a sai and a nunchaku .
According to Sgt. William Stuart, a sai is an Okinawan karate weapon with one pointed and one forked end, and a nunchaku is a weapon consisting of two sticks connected with a rope or chain.
A police report said that when Norried "reached a point very close to the officers and they were in danger of serious injury, two officers fired at Norried." He was pronounced dead at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center.
Norried was the third person to died in a police shooting in Orange County in the last three weeks. On Jan. 20, Dennis Paul Gonzales, 20, of Garden Grove was shot to death by two Garden Grove policemen responding to a disturbance call at a residence.
And on Feb. 2, Anaheim police shot and killed Robert Vincent Edson, 28, at a motel near Disneyland following a pursuit. Edson was later found to be unarmed.
Investigations by the district attorney's office are continuing into both incidents.