DNA test links Black man fatally shot by Pasadena police to gun he allegedly tossed
Pasadena Police Department footage of the fatal shooting of Anthony McClain during a traffic stop on Aug. 15, 2020.
A forensic examination found DNA evidence from a Black man shot to death by Pasadena police in August on a handgun that authorities say he tossed while running away, according to a lab report from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The “ghost gun” made from untraceable parts was recovered across the street from where a Pasadena police officer shot Anthony McClain following a traffic stop on Aug. 15, police have said previously.
Pasadena Police Chief John Perez has said that McClain had a gun in his left hand as he ran away from officers, and the 32-year-old tossed the weapon after being shot.
“The lab’s DNA analysis report identified only one person’s DNA located on the slide (upper section) of the firearm and firmly establishes the link between the DNA, the firearm and Mr. McClain,” a Pasadena police statement said.
According to the report, which was reviewed by The Times, testing also showed McClain’s DNA on the grip of the gun, along with the DNA of two other, unidentified people. The tests compared biological evidence found on the weapon with McClain’s DNA, which was sampled by the L.A. County coroner’s office.
Pasadena police captured the shooting of McClain on dashboard camera video taken during the traffic stop. In the video, McClain is asked to step out of the passenger seat of a four-door Infinity that was stopped because it did not have a front license plate. The driver, who was found to have a suspended license, is also asked to exit the vehicle.
The video shows McClain running away with what appears to be something shiny around his waistband as two officers give chase, ordering him to stop. Officer Edwin Dumaguindin is seen firing two shots — one of which strikes the McClain in his flank as he sprints away.
Authorities said McClain ran for about another 100 yards before collapsing. He died hours later at a hospital.
In a description of the video, police say that the object at McClain’s waist was a handgun, and in slow-motion footage the object can be seen in his left hand as he runs away before turning his head back toward the pursuing officers.
“DNA evidence along with the officer’s statements, the recorded statement of a witness who saw Mr. McClain throw the firearm and the video evidence all point to the incident unfolding as initially described by the Police Department,” the police statement said.
Caree Harper, an attorney for some of McClain’s relatives who are pursuing legal action against the city, questioned the chain of evidence while noting that McClain was still clearly running away from police when he was shot from behind.
“So supposedly there is DNA evidence, but no prints?” Harper said by email Thursday night. “On the street that Mr. McClain’s blood was shed all over and in which dozens of citizens and officers trampled through? On a street that shooter Edwin Dumaguindin is clearly seen searching for an alleged weapon with Mr. McClain’s blood on his hands? Who recovered the weapon?
“Notwithstanding potentially manipulated evidence, possession of an alleged weapon is not a death sentence, especially while running away,” Harper added. “The point has been missed if anyone thinks that this is the true issue when someone has been shot repeatedly in the back while running away. This changes nothing. The shooting of Anthony McClain was unjustified, unnecessary and tragic.”
Perez offered compassion for the McClain family while saying the department remains committed to a thorough investigation.
“The loss of any life is extremely tragic, and our prayers remain with the McClain family during this difficult period,” the chief said in a statement Thursday evening.
“In keeping with the commitment to transparency and accountability, it is my public responsibility to conduct thorough and detailed investigations to get to the truth of what led to the death of a community member. I remain concerned with false information and public statements which increase the distrust we are seeing in our public servants, placing them and their families in direct danger.”
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