Witnesses Recall Fatal Police Shooting of Unarmed Student - NBC Bay Area
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Witnesses Recall Fatal Police Shooting of Unarmed Student

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    Witnesses recalled the tense moments when a Long Beach police officer shot and killed an unarmed college student. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, 2015. (Published Sunday, May 31, 2015)

    Witnesses on Sunday recalled the tense moments when a Long Beach, California, police officer fatally shot a 20-year-old unarmed college student.

    Feras Morad had jumped through the glass of a second-story window Wednesday night when he was met by an officer, who Long Beach Police Department officials said tried to restrain the student before opening fire.

    "The boy was arms kind of up in the air, leaning, not aggressing, not attacking, just out of his mind. And the police officer did four shots really close range to his chest," said a witness, who did not want to be identified for fear of police retaliation.

    "The boy fell to the side and I watched him die because his eyes were gone and he was bleeding out," she added.

    Police and witnesses agree that Morad appeared intoxicated.

    Covered in blood, Morad allegedly acted violently and "irrationally," Long Beach police said. The officer used "verbal commands, an electronic control device, an impact weapon, and physical force" on Morad, but was unsuccessful in restraining him.

    "I did hear the officer tell him to 'Stop or I'll shoot,' and then a couple of minutes later the shots went off," said neighbor Brian Magpantay.

    What some witnesses don't agree on is whether the officer needed to use lethal force.

    "He (Morad) was like coming toward him like this all bloody from head to toe, it was quite a scene. He was acting very aggressive," said witness Bob Garner. "At that moment he (the officer) was solo and I think in his mind he had to make a decision, and his decision, I believe from what I saw, was two tasers and a fall from a second story did zero. 'I have no other choice,' that's what it appeared like to me."

    The woman who did not want to be identified held back tears as she recalled watching the young man die.

    "If that officer wasn't there, I guarantee you 10 people from this neighborhood could have gotten that intoxicated child down on the ground and into an ambulance for help," she said. "He needed help, he didn't need to die."

    Morad was described by his family as a national debate student soon to start classes at California State University, Long Beach.