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Cops Kill Man Running Away, Say He Charged (Video)

Police shot and killed Javier Gaona in Santa Maria, California, on July 20 (video below).

Journalist Oscar Flores posted a video of the shooting, which was filmed by James Jepsen, to Facebook. The video appears to contradict the police version of the incident in which Gaona was described as charging the officers.

Gaona appears to be running away from police when they open fire on him.

Several bystanders can be heard on the video cursing at the police, accusing the officers of murder and demanding to know why a stun gun was not used.

Gaona was holding a knife to his own throat and telling police to kill him, while officers attempted to negotiate with the 31-year-old man for more than 30 minutes, reports the Santa Barbara Independent.

Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin recalled that a negotiator tried to talk Gaona down, but at some time during the process Gaona "quit negotiating with us," notes the Santa Maria Times.

"Officials deployed less-than-lethal weapons; we fired approximately 15 shots of 12-gauge beanbag shotgun rounds," Martin stated.

After firing the beanbag rounds, Martin said the officers shot four to five tennis ball-sized rounds.

Martin said of the incident:

"He did go down, and then he reportedly got back up, then charged at the officers with a knife in his hand. Clearly, we knew we had someone who was intent on harming himself or the officers. That was when three officers used their handguns and shot the man.

"We deal with a lot of these incidents, where we want to use the least amount of force; we have the man on tape -- he was screaming obscenities, he was clearly upset, had some mental illness and was talking about a lot of different political things.

"I'm upset about this. I'm concerned about our officers, people who witnessed this, and it's a clear use of force, but I know we did everything we could. I hope the man survives, but officers also have a duty to protect themselves."

Gaona died at a local hospital.

KSBY president and general manager Kathleen Choal said the TV station had the incident on video, but refused to air it "due to the graphic nature of the video," reports the Santa Barbara Independent.

WARNING: Graphic video and language.

Sources: Oscar Flores/FacebookSanta Barbara IndependentSanta Maria Times / Photo credit: James Jepsen via YouTube

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