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Police shoot man in downtown San Diego

Two officers with parked cars between them point guns at a man who appears to be turning toward them with his arm raised
San Diego police released this image from a surveillance camera that shows the moments leading up to officers shooting a man Saturday on Sixth Avenue in downtown San Diego.
(Courtesy of San Diego Police Department)

San Diego Police officers on Saturday evening shot and wounded a man who they say was a robbery suspect who pointed a gun at them.

The shooting occurred around 5:45 p.m. on Sixth Avenue near B Street in downtown San Diego.

Police said on Twitter that the 25-year-old Latino man was a suspect in a robbery that occurred Sunday.

Two officers driving downtown Saturday recognized the man from a flyer depicting the suspect and approached him, said San Diego police Capt. Rich Freedman.

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As he saw the officers he turned around and started walking southbound on Sixth, Freedman said. When the officers got out of their vehicle and told him to stop, he dropped items he’d been carrying, reached into his waistband and pulled a handgun that he pointed at the officers, Freedman said.

“Fearing they were going to be shot, the officers returned fire,” Freedman said.

He was struck by gunfire from both officers, police said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was undergoing surgery. His prognosis was unknown, Freedman said.

Freedman did not release the man’s name, nor details of the robbery police were investigating, except to say that it involved someone who “struck somebody and stole some property” from the person, Freedman said.

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Theshooting was captured on a business’ surveillance camera, police said. Authorities posted an image from the footage on social media that showed two officers with guns drawn on a man dressed in red appearing to point an item at one of the officers. The image is not clear enough to make out what the item is.

San Diego police released a photo of what they say is a gun
San Diego police released a photo of what they say is a gun recovered from the scene of a shooting Saturday.
(San Diego Police Department)

Police posted a second photo of a gun they said was recovered at the scene. The photo shows a bundle of camouflage-print cloth with what appears to be the wooden handle of a handgun sticking out the bottom.

Homicide detectives arrived to the scene to investigate, as they do at all officer-involved shootings. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI would also be monitoring the investigation. The officers involved will be placed on administrative leave per standard protocol, Freedman said.

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A video posted on Twitter showed police flooding the area and officers appearing to try to resuscitate a person on the sidewalk in front of PATH San Diego’s Connections Housing.

Sixth Avenue has been blocked off as police investigate.

About 100 onlookers gathered around the police tape, many of them yelling at officers and demanding answers. They chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

The shooting comes amid fury over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in Minneapolis police custody. The death sparked massive nationwide protests over the past several weeks and renewed calls for racial justice and policing reform.

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Community activist Tasha Williamson, who recently ran for mayor, said the man’s name was Leo. “He had a lot of life,” she told reporters at the scene.

“If that was not a gun we want the police charged,” she said.

The decision by San Diego police to release images of the incident so quickly into the investigation is rare and an apparent attempt to temper early outrage building within the community Saturday evening.

Calls intensified for video footage of the incident, including that from officer body-worn cameras, to be released immediately. Police promised they would “as soon as we can.”

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“I’m calling for the @SanDiegoPD body worn camera footage of the 6th ave. & B st. officer involved shooting tonight,” the Rev. Shane Harris, president and CEO of the People’s Alliance for Justice, said on Twitter. “I also expect the Citizens Review Board to review this incident. I’m not jumping to conclusions on what happened or who is at fault. I am asking for transparency.”

Tribune photojournalist Sam Hodgson contributed to this report.


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