Police in Orange, California, saved the life of Michael Anthony Perez on March 12, but fatally shot him moments later (video below).
According to the Orange Police Department, Perez was driving a white van when he was pulled over by the police for a broken tail light, notes KABC.
When they ran Perez's plates, they found he had an outstanding warrant, police said.
The police said Perez had a gas can and a lit cigarette, which they feared he would use to light himself on fire.
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"They became concerned for his safety, and the safety of the general public, when he actually lit a cigarette," said Lt. Fred Lopez, a police department spokesman. "So they felt that they needed to put a plan together to get him out of the car."
The police decided to flood Perez's van with a fire hose to stop any potential fire, and called the Orange Fire Department for help, notes the Los Angeles Times.
"Normal people don’t pour gasoline on themselves and light it," Lopez added. "To me, that’s not normal behavior. That’s an indication that you want to harm yourself or harm other people."
In a video filmed by an unidentified person, an officer is seen breaking the passenger window and spraying water inside the vehicle.
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"I've been here for 22 years. I don't know that I've ever even heard of a plan like this. I think it was an excellent idea to use the water to prevent him from lighting himself on fire," said Lopez.
But Perez moved to the back of the van, prompting officers to break out more windows.
Perez came back to the front, exited the van's front window and got into an altercation with police.
Perez was reportedly armed with a knife.
According to police, a less lethal munition was used on Perez, but when that didn't work, they shot him.
In the video, it sounds like two shots are fired. Perez was taken to a local hospital, but later died.
Perez's widow told KABC that her estranged late husband had been living inside the van for more than a year, and had an addiction to methamphetamine.
Perez's wife, who had four children with him, said he could not change his lifestyle, and had told her that he wanted to die.
She believes police did not have to kill him, and could have done a better job in defusing the situation.
WARNING: Raw video contains graphic scenes.