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Watch: BWC video shows Calif. officers stop knife-wielding man on train

“Listen, we want everything and everyone to go home safe,” the officer told the man, the videos show. “I just need you to do everything that... we tell you”


Sacramento Police Department

By Rosalio Ahumada
The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Authorities on Wednesday afternoon released video of officers fatally shooting a man who had a knife and charged toward police while on a Sacramento Regional Transit train earlier this month.

The Sacramento Police Department released an edited video with police narration of what unfolded on the RT train. Police also released raw video of the shooting captured on four body-worn cameras and two RT security cameras, along with dispatch audio recordings.

The fatal police shooting occurred Aug. 15 on board a RT Blue Line train after it pulled into the platform adjacent to Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College.

Shortly after 5 p.m., patrol officers were called to the 3800 block of 24th Street after callers reported there was someone armed with “a large knife acting erratically” on an RT train, police said.

“Once the individual armed with knife made his way to the front of the train, the other passengers moved away from the individual and exited the train,” Sgt. Carlos Martinez, a police spokesman, said in the edited video.

In the video, a man wearing a red shirt, red shorts and a red baseball cap can be heard saying loudly and repeatedly: “Excuse me. You all got to excuse me. I don’t understand. Excuse me.”

Before officers arrived at the scene, two passengers on the train called 911 to report there was a person with a knife on the train. One caller said he saw the man holding “a machete type of knife” that was “long as my arm.”

Martinez said the man displayed the knife at least once as he walked into the train, moments before the other passengers left the train. Security video shows the man display the knife when he boarded. A second caller reported the armed man, as well, saying the man had “a huge knife.”

Two officers arrived at the scene. While one officer went to the train, the other grabbed his department-issued less-lethal bean bag shotgun before heading to the train.

The video shows RT staff tell the officers where the armed man was and what he was wearing. When the first officer entered the train, the armed man was sitting at the far end of the train. Another man, who did not appear to be associated with the man in red, was still seated in the train close to where the officer entered. The officers soon after pulled the other passenger off the train as they continued to confront the armed man.

“Listen, we want everything and everyone to go home safe,” the officer told the man in the red clothing, the videos show. “I just need you to do everything that... we tell you.

“No one is going to hurt you, man,” the officer said. “Do not grab the knife.”

The man in the red clothing told the officer: “I’m scared of you all, bro. Please, please, please, sir. I know you all got to do your job, but I’m scared of you all right now.”

Knife pulled out in front police

The video then showed the man in red clothing, who was still seated, pulling the knife from his waistband area and holding it on his lap with the blade pointing up.

One officer told the other: “If he stands up, less lethal,” presumably indicating the officer was going to use a less-lethal weapon.

The officers tried to engage with the armed man, asking for his name, video shows. He did not give his name.

“Please, sir. I’m not trying to go through no door... I can’t do it,” the man in the red clothing told police as he held the knife’s blade to his own neck. “I can’t do nothing, you all... They got me, Lord. I can’t do it.”

One officer told the man: “We are not trying to hurt you. We are here to help.” The armed man continued to repeat what he was saying, screaming as he continued to sit in the train.

The man then started banging on one of the train’s windows with the knife’s handle. Seconds later, the armed man stood up holding the knife at his waist. That’s when the officer with the less-lethal weapon fired the bean bag shotgun at the armed man.

The less-lethal shotgun was fired at least three times, based on the audio from the video. It appeared in the video that all three bean bag projectiles struck the armed man.

Police said the bean bag shots were ineffective, and that the man stood up and charged at the officers while still holding the knife.

The other officer fired his firearm at the man dressed in red, according to the Police Department video. Seven gunshots can be heard in the video.

The video then shows the armed man on the ground face down, apparently writhing in pain. Soon after, he stood up again, still holding the knife.

Police said the officer who had initially fired the bean bag projectiles then fired his gun at the armed man. This officer fired six shots, video from the body-worn cameras showed.

The officers then called for medics, a medical kit and additional resources as they developed a plan to approach the wounded man, police said and video showed. After about three-and-a-half minutes, the officers approached him using a shield, removed the knife and provided medical aid until Sacramento Fire Department personnel arrived, police said.

The Police Department did not release the names of the officers who fired their guns.

The video shows both officers were on the train when they fired their guns at the armed man.

Pronounced dead at the scene

The man shot by police was pronounced dead at the scene by medics.

The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office as of Wednesday had not yet released his name. Coroner’s officials will release his name after his family has been notified.

The shooting is being investigated by the Police Department’s homicide unit, internal affairs division and professional standards unit. The city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office are providing oversight by monitoring the investigation.

Investigators asked anyone with information about the fatal shooting to call officers at 916-808-5471 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at 916-443-4357. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the P3 Tips website and app.

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