Police Defend Fatal Shooting of Suspect

Times Staff Writer

San Bernardino police officials on Monday defended an officer’s decision to shoot a suspect during a foot chase, saying the suspect had refused commands to stop and that the officer had reason to believe the man had a gun.

Tyrone Brooks, 19, was shot and killed early Sunday morning in Rialto following a 10-minute high-speed car pursuit that began in San Bernardino and became a foot chase in the neighboring city.

Brooks and the car’s driver, Coleman Watson, 18, of San Bernardino, fled their vehicle, leaving a juvenile behind in the car, police said. Watson was arrested nearby, and police said they found two handguns at the scene probably connected to the suspects.


San Bernardino police officers first tried to stop the car when they heard gunshots, officials said.

“The officers believed when they saw that car that it was the one involved in those shots being fired,” said San Bernardino Police Lt. Brian Boom. “It’s why they gave chase.”

During the foot pursuit, Brooks was shot in an alley and declared dead after paramedics failed to revive him.

The San Bernardino County coroner said an autopsy would be needed to learn how many times Brooks was shot or if he was shot by more than one officer.

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the shooting. Sheriff’s Det. Donald Mahoney declined to discuss details of his investigation.

Neighbors and Brooks’ family members criticized the shooting when interviewed by KNBC-TV and other television news outlets Sunday. But San Bernardino police spokesman Lt. Mark Garcia said, “Our officers would not use deadly force unless there was a threat perceived against them that would require the use of deadly force.”


The officers involved in the shooting remain on active duty, Garcia said.