Police shot and killed Jason Conoscenti in Long Beach, Calif. on Sunday.
Conoscenti, who was unarmed, was shot numerous times by Long Beach police as he ran down some steps near a beach.
In a video (below) filmed by customers at a nearby restaurant, Conoscenti appears to be shot in the back by police.
A spokeswoman for the Long Beach Police Department told the L.A. Weekly that an officer started shooting at Conoscenti after hearing Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies firing bean bag rounds, which the officer mistook for hostile gunfire.
"The officers basically believed the suspect had been involved in a shootout with deputies prior to him running down the steps," said the spokeswoman.
The incident began earlier in the day at a Target store in Compton, Calif. where Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies saw Conoscenti in a struggle with Target security guards, who claimed he had stolen an item.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies, Conoscenti pulled a pair of scissors and led them on a 15-minute car chase.
Eventually, Conoscenti stopped his car near the beach where Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies tried to coax him out. Conoscenti fled down some stairs and was shot by a Long Beach police officer multiple times.
According to the Long Beach Post, the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement:
Long Beach officers, who were located on the beach, east of the foot of the stairs with an obstructed view due to palm trees and shrubbery, heard gunshots from above and saw the suspect running toward the populated beach area...
Believing the suspect had just engaged deputies in a gunfight, was still armed, and remained an immediate threat to law enforcement and the public gathered on the beach, the officers shouted verbal commands multiple times, as the suspect continued down the stairs...The suspect failed to surrender and after officers observed him reaching for his waist band, an officer involved shooting occurred.
RawStory.com notes that no police are seen on the stairs and Conoscenti does not stop to reach in his waistband, but rather his hands are seen on the handrails of the steps before he falls to the ground after being shot.
“I do not see [the suspect] reach his waist band at all,” former LAPD detective Tim Williams told NBC Los Angeles. “From my observations from looking at this video tape, [the shooting] is not justified, I think it’s objectively unreasonable and it’s, my opinion, is excessive force.”
For reasons unknown, it took law enforcement officers almost two minutes to reach Conoscenti, who lay on the ground bleeding.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO