Police shooting in Anaheim leads to violent clash

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Demonstrators stormed a police department in Orange County, Calif., on Sunday to protest an officer-involved shooting that left a man dead and led to a violent clash between witnesses and police.

A crowd filled the Anaheim Police headquarters’ lobby Sunday as Chief John Welter prepared to hold a news conference.

Protestors chanted “no justice, no peace” and “cops, pigs, murderers” as officers stood by and watched, according to the Orange County Register.

It was unclear whether the press conference would go on. Earlier Sgt. Bob Dunn said only credentialed journalists would be admitted “because of security concerns.”

Welter was to address the shooting and confrontation Saturday in which a crowd threw bottles at officers who responded with tear gas and beanbag rounds.

The man was shot in front of an apartment complex around 4 p.m. Saturday following a foot chase, Dunn said. He died three hours later at a hospital.

The Register cited family members and neighbors who identified the man as Manuel Diaz. Dunn said he could not confirm the man’s name Sunday.

The man’s niece, 16-year-old Daisy Gonzalez, said her uncle likely ran away from officers when they approached him because of his past experience with law enforcement.

“He (doesn’t) like cops. He never liked them because all they do is harass and arrest anyone,” Gonzalez told the newspaper after lighting a candle for her uncle. She cursed at officers who were nearby and a police helicopter that hovered overhead.

As officers were investigating what happened at the scene, Dunn said an angry group of people began yelling and throwing bottles at them. He said that as officers detained several people, the crowd advanced on the officers so they fired tear gas and beanbag rounds at them.

Video captured by a KCAL-TV crew showed a chaotic scene in which officers fired beanbag rounds as some people ducked to the ground and others scattered screaming. A man is seen yelling at an officer even as a weapon is pointed at him; two adults huddled to shield a boy and girl. Meanwhile, a police dog ran into several people sitting on the grass, including a woman and a child in a stroller, before biting a man in the arm.

Dunn said the dog somehow got out of a patrol car and was “deployed accidentally.”

Throughout the night, police in multiple marked and unmarked squad cars attempted to control an unruly crowd gathered near the shooting scene, the Register reported.

Some in the crowd moved a Dumpster into an intersection and set its trash on fire on at least three separate occasions, while officers kept responding to move it out of the way of traffic.

Dunn said gang detectives are involved in the investigation.

Crystal Ventura, a 17-year-old who witnessed the shooting, told the Register that the man had his back to the officer. Ventura said the man was shot in the buttocks area. The man then went down on his knees, she said, adding that he was struck by another bullet in the head. Ventura said another officer handcuffed the man, who by then was on the ground and not moving.

“They searched his pockets, and there was a hole in his head, and I saw blood on his face,” Ventura told the newspaper.

Dunn said he could not comment on these allegations because the shooting is under investigation.

Dunn said the man shot by police was one of three men who ran away from officers who approached them in an alley. The other two suspects have not been captured.

He would not say why police shot the man, saying that the details are under investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

He said several people were arrested in the melee, but he couldn’t immediately provide a figure.


Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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