LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles police released surveillance video Tuesday showing a suspect holding what appears to be a gun in the moments before he was fatally shot Saturday by officers in a police killing that has generated widespread protests.
The footage posted to the police department's YouTube channel shows a man in gray sweat pants and a blue hooded sweat shirt crouching behind an SUV and pulling a handgun from his waistband. He then tucks the gun back into his waistband and runs around the corner of a strip mall as officers run after him.
Police said the video supports the account Chief Charlie Beck gave Monday justifying the October 1 fatal shooting of Carnell Snell. Beck said Snell, 18, had a fully loaded semi-automatic handgun in one hand and turned toward officers when they fired. Protesters had demanded the release of the video.
"While the Los Angeles Police Department has a long standing practice of not releasing video evidence pending administrative and criminal investigations, the Chief is exercising his discretion to release video in the interest of public safety," police said in a statement released at the same time as the video.
The video was made public as Black Lives Matter organizers gathered to protest Snell's killing at a meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission.
Officers tried to pull over a car Snell was in Saturday because it had temporary paper license plates that did not match the year of the vehicle. Beck said that was a possible indication to officers of a stolen car and something commonly seen in vehicles used by criminals for drive-by shootings.
Snell, seated in car's back seat, looked at officers and then ducked down "as if to hide from them," Beck said.
When officers tried to pull the car over, Snell jumped out holding his waistband and the foot pursuit began, Beck said.
After police chased Snell for several hundred yards, Snell took a gun from his waistband and turned in the direction of the pursuing officers, prompting the shooting, Beck said.
AP writers Christopher Weber and John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed to this report.