Orange County News

Anaheim officers, crowd clash after police shoot, kill chase suspect

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Anaheim police shot and killed a pursuit suspect, and the shooting led to an angry outburst from area residents.

Police were chasing three men down an alley near an apartment building in the 600 block of North Anna Drive at about 4 p.m. Saturday when an officer shot one of the suspects, identified as 24-year-old Manuel Diaz. The suspect died at a hospital. The circumstances surrounding the chase and shooting were not immediately clear. The two other chase suspects got away.

Shortly after the shooting, area residents set a dumpster on fire while police tried to diffuse the situation. One person was seen throwing a mattress into the burning pile.

As police investigated the shooting, they say a group of people started throwing rocks and bottles at the officers. Officers responded with pepper spray and rubber bullets to keep the crowd back. Police say they accidentally released a K-9 into the crowd, and at least one person was bitten by the dog.

Five people were arrested, mostly for minor violations, with the exception of a known gang member who was arrested for a gang-related murder in May, police said.

Residents said they feel officers were overly aggressive, but police said they did what was necessary to keep themselves safe.

"The reason for the shooting is still under investigation by the district attorney and we have no influence, no control or input into that investigation, so we just merely provide scene protection making sure that any evidence or any other information or detail is not disrupted in the crime scene," said Anaheim Police Chief John Welter at a Sunday news conference.

Dozens of protesters picketed outside the Anaheim Police Department on Sunday, demanding justice.

The Anaheim Police Department was on tactical alert in case of any disruptions Sunday.

In the past, Anaheim residents have asked for independent reviews of police shootings.

"Anaheim PD opened fire into a crowd of women and children and released the K-9 dogs. There was rubber pellets, women got hit, men got hit, babies got knocked over by dogs, kids got bit by dogs," described Joel Hunt Jr., a Fullerton resident.

Yesenia Rojas from Orange said she was trying to protect her children during the incident when she was struck multiple times by rubber pellets. Red welts could be seen on her arms and on the side of her abdomen.

"Is Anaheim police really protecting our communities? They're not protecting our communities. They're killing our kids," said Rojas.

The name of the officer involved in the shooting and the identity of the deceased suspect were not immediately released. That officer has been placed on desk duty. It is not known whether the suspect who was killed was armed.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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officer-involved shooting, pursuit, orange county news
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