Sacramento police fired 20 times at unarmed man who was shot and killed in his backyard


Sacramento police fired 20 times at an unarmed man fatally shot in his own backyard, authorities said.

Police shot 22-year-old Stephon Clark Sunday night in the backyard of a home he shared with his grandparents and some of his siblings, Clark’s brother told the Sacramento Bee.

“Twenty rounds were fired,” Sacramento Police Sgt. Vance Chandler told KCRA-TV on Tuesday afternoon. “Each officer fired 10 rounds.”


Officers responded to the 7500 block of 29th Street around 9:15 p.m. after receiving a call that a six-foot-one man wearing a black hoodie and dark pants was breaking into vehicles. The caller said the man had broken car windows and was hiding in a backyard, according to the Sacramento Police Department.

A Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s helicopter circling overhead found a man in a backyard at about 9:25 p.m. and directed police officers toward him, authorities said. Deputies told police that the man had picked up a “toolbar” and broke a window to a home.

The helicopter then spotted the suspect running south, toward the front of the house, where he stopped and was looking into another car, police said. Following deputies’ directions, officers entered the frontyard of a home and observed the suspect along the side of the residence.

Police said the officers gave the man commands to stop and show his hands, but he immediately fled and ran toward the back of the home. They chased him to the backyard, where authorities say he turned and advanced toward the officers “while holding an object which was extended in front of him.”

“The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them. Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times,” the police department said in a news release. “The involved officers held their position for approximately five minutes, until additional officers arrived. Officers approached the suspect, handcuffed him and began life saving efforts.”

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Monday, police said investigators did not locate any guns after “an exhaustive search” and that the only item found was a cellphone.


Police later said two items that may have been the “toolbar” deputies in the helicopter saw were recovered from near the broken sliding glass door in the neighbor’s yard, according to the Sacramento Bee. Authorities found a cinder block and a piece of aluminum that looked like it could be used for a gutter.

Authorities said they identified at least three vehicles that Clark may have damaged. A nearby home also had a sliding glass door shattered, they said.

The two officers involved in the shooting have two and four years with the Sacramento Police Department, authorities said, and both have four years of prior law enforcement experience with other agencies before joining the Sacramento police.

Both were wearing body cameras. Police said they plan on releasing images from those cameras along with video and audio from the law enforcement helicopter.

Neither officer was injured. Police said the officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy.

Twitter: @sarahparvini


March 21, 9:10 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details.

This article was originally published on March 20 at 10:15 a.m.