Video: Calif. police shoot man who pointed gun at them

Officers gave repeated commands to drop the weapon

By Molly Sullivan
The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento Police released body camera footage Monday of officers fatally shooting a 22-year-old man last week at an apartment complex near Sacramento State.

The video shows a tense confrontation between police and Jeremy Southern on July 21. Southern is seen pointing a gun at officers for 90 seconds. Officers gave 28 commands for him to drop the gun before firing at Southern twice.

The video release — mandated by the City Council’s policy on police use of force — includes video from three police body cameras, one cell phone from a witness and 11 audio files of police and 911 communications. The police department is still investigating the incident and will release additional videos, the department said in a news release.

The videos released Monday show officers following on foot as Southern and a female companion walk in The Crossings apartment complex in the 2900 block of Ramona Avenue, which houses more than 700 students. Sacramento Police said the two officers were at the complex to collect surveillance footage from a shooting that occurred there on July 15.

While there, the officers recognized the suspect from the shooting walking through the complex. Police said Southern was the suspect in the shooting.

Officers quickly approach behind Southern as he walks into a courtyard and pull their weapons. They identify Southern by name and give commands for him to put his hands up.

Southern is seen raising a handgun in his left hand and the woman accompanying him steps between him and police.

“Put your hands up, Jeremy,” one officer yells. “Drop the gun . . . Jeremy, drop the gun.”

Officers take cover behind an exterior wall of the apartment complex an estimated 90 feet away while repeatedly giving commands. Cell phone video of the incident filmed by a resident shows Southern gripping a handgun with both hands and pointing in the direction of the police officers. The woman with him moves off to the left. Southern continues to point the gun as he pulls out his cell phone and holds it to his face. He approaches the door of the apartment building and then moves back to the courtyard.

“Jeremy, drop the gun, it’s not worth it,” an officer says. “Jeremy, drop the gun, we don’t want to shoot you.”

One of the officers can be heard saying he sees people in a lobby of the apartment building behind Southern.

An officer armed with a rifle arrives at the scene and chambers a round as he sprints to the officers giving commands to Southern. The officer then takes position and announces, “I’m going to take a shot.”

The cell phone video shows Southern being hit in the abdomen and falling to the ground. The gun falls a few feet in front of him to his right.


Video Release and Update – Officer Involved Shooting 2900 block of Ramona Avenue In order to provide information quickly to our community, the Sacramento Police Department is releasing important audio and video material from the officer involved shooting that occurred in the 2900 block of Ramona Avenue on July 21, 2020. The material consists of one narrated video, three body-worn-camera (BWC) videos, one witness video, and dispatch audio. The videos being released today start from the officers’ initial contact and end where officers begin rendering medical aid. All videos being released from this incident have been redacted to ensure the confidentiality and privacy of those involved. Faces have been blurred and audio redactions are signified by muted audio. On July 15, 2020 at approximately 9:21 p.m., Sacramento Police Department patrol officers responded to the 2900 block of Ramona Avenue for a report of a male subject shooting a firearm into the air. Officers were able to locate spent bullet casings, confirming that a shooting had taken place. There were no reported injuries from the shooting. Officers began an investigation into the incident and identified the suspect as 22-year-old Jeremy Southern. They also observed that Southern had a distinct neck tattoo. On Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at approximately 2:15 p.m., officers responded back to the same complex to collect surveillance footage from the incident. Officers also confirmed via records checks that Southern was a parolee-at-large and had an active warrant. One officer was in plain clothes and the other officer was wearing a marked police vest. While officers were on scene, they observed Southern walking through the apartment complex courtyard with a female. Officers contacted Southern and he immediately drew a handgun from a satchel and began pointing it at officers. Officer 1’s BWC shows the two officers retreat for cover as they attempt to deescalate. As officers await additional resources, they identify themselves as police officers, and order Southern to drop his firearm. Southern refuses to drop the firearm and continues to point it at officers. Southern can be heard on BWC stating, “Imma die today,” and “I’m not going back.” Officers also observe that the building lobby behind Southern contains innocent bystanders. Officer 2’s BWC shows his arrival on scene and the deployment of his patrol rifle. Officer 2 takes Officer 1’s position as Southern continues to point the firearm in their direction. Officer 2 discharges one round at Southern which causes him to drop the firearm. Officer 3’s BWC, and a witness video, capture Southern moving back towards his firearm. Witness video also captures the voices of other subjects who see the same movement, and yell for Southern to stay on the ground. Officer 2 discharges one additional round at Southern. Officers then gather shields and make a safe approach to render aid to Southern. As they approach, Officer 3’s BWC shows the firearm in close proximity to the suspect. This firearm was recovered and found to be loaded with nine rounds. Officers begin medical care and Sacramento Fire Department personnel arrive on scene to take over. Southern was transported to a local hospital for his injuries in critical condition, where he was later pronounced deceased. This incident is still under investigation. The Sacramento Police Department is committed to transparency and additional videos will be released as the investigation continues. The material is now available through the YouTube link below. These links will also be posted on our department’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account (@sacpolice).

Posted by Sacramento Police Department on Monday, July 27, 2020

The woman who had been walking with Southern lays down on the ground after officers command her to get down. She continues to cry and scream and Southern rolls over on his right side. As Southern begins to crawl back toward the gun, the woman screams for him to stay down.

The officer armed with the rifle can be heard saying, ““if he crawls forward, I’m taking a shot again.”

About 7 seconds later, the officer fires a second shot. Southern does not appear to move again.

A few minutes after the second shot, eight officers move toward him, two of them carrying shields. As they begin giving medical aid, two officers handcuff the woman as she lies on the ground.

“Please make sure he lives . . . he’s a good man,” she says. The officer responds, “we’re going to do our best.”

Southern was transported by the Sacramento Fire Department to a local area hospital where he later died of his wounds, the Sacramento Police Department said.

©2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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