Video: Man killed by police tried to grab LEO’s gun

New Mexico State Police released video Friday of a fatal police shooting that has sparked protests


By Suzie Ziegler 

VALENCIA COUNTY, N.M. — New Mexico State Police released video Friday of a fatal police shooting after protesters gathered at the governor’s mansion, demanding answers. Bodycam video of the traffic stop shows 25-year-old Rodney Applewhite lunging at an officer in an apparent attempt to grab the officer’s gun. 

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the November 19 incident began when officers tried to pull over Applewhite for speeding. Applewhite first stopped along the shoulder but then sped off when an officer got out of his vehicle. Police pursued Applewhite as he drove “in and out” of two-way traffic while avoiding spike strips, the agency said. After a short pursuit Applewhite again stopped his car. 

Bodycam video shows Applewhite standing in the middle of a roadway with his hands in the air. A sergeant approaches him and begins to put Applewhite in handcuffs. That’s when Applewhite turns and appears to grab at the sergeant’s gun. The pair scuffle briefly before Officer Gene Gonzales fires two shots, hitting Applewhite, according to the Journal. 

While waiting for the ambulance, Applewhite is heard asking, “Can you finish me, please?” 

“No,” Gonzales replies. 

Applewhite was taken to a hospital where he later died. Gonzales is on routine administrative leave.

NEXT: Video: Gun retention techniques and the use of backup weapons

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