Many questions remained Saturday night in the East Bay after police shot and killed a man spotted asleep in a car with a handgun next to him on the seat. Police are investigating whether the man actually used the gun at any point during a confrontation with officers.
The man's name, age and race is currently being withheld by police, who are questioning the 12 officers who were present at the scene and reviewing footage from their body cameras.
Police were notified around 7:30 a.m. of an unresponsive driver who had a gun inside a silver 2005 BMW near the Lakeshore Avenue off-ramp from Interstate Highway 580, according to Oakland police Chief Sean Whent.
Whent said officers blocked off the area and spent roughly an hour trying to wake the suspect. Officers deployed beanbag rounds at the car in an attempt to get the driver's attention, but police said the driver was unresponsive. Officers then approached the car with a metal pipe to break the passenger-side window in an attempt to talk to the driver, police said. At that point, the officers were able to confirm that a gun was inside the car, according to police.
Whent said that during the last attempt to contact the driver, officers approached the car, the person woke up and then a confrontation ensued. One officer deployed a Taser and another officer used a gun, Whent said. Whent said police are investigating whether the person actually used the gun during the confrontation. The driver was struck by bullets and transported to Highland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to Whent.
Several people who gathered to protest the shooting Saturday evening said witnesses described the incident in more detail. "The guy was actually alert and talking with the police officers," said D'Andre Teeter of Stop Mass Incarceration Network. "He refused to get out of the car and at that point he was tasered and shot. The witness said that at no point did they see him raise a gun or point a gun at the officers."
Police said officers found a loaded gun with an attached illegal extended magazine and said the car had been used in a burglary that occurred Friday night in San Francisco. San Francisco police confirmed the car was used in a burglary reported around 8 p.m. at the Lands End visitor's center. The vehicle fled from police.
Amos Brown, head of the San Francisco NAACP, said there's too much silence and secrecy surrounding the incident.
"Many police view every African-American male as a threat not as a person. I would question whether they showed good judgement," he said.
People who live near the shooting are equally skeptical. "Oakland police don't have a good history of responding to public outcry for social justice," said neighbor Laura Fitch.
The case is being handled by the U.S. Park Police, according to San Francisco police.
The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is investigating the shooting, per the department's policy, along with the Oakland Police Department's homicide unit and its internal affairs division.
There were 12 officers on scene who are being interviewed.
The shooting is the first fatal officer-involved shooting since May 2013, according to police.
Bay City News contributed to this report.