The San Diego Police Department on Thursday released video footage of the fatal shooting by two patrolmen of a gun-toting motorist last week following a pursuit in Barrio Logan.
Officers Christopher Aguilar and Jacob Meyers opened fire on Christopher Dearman, 37, in the 2000 block of Logan Avenue on Friday.
Paramedics took Dearman to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Aguilar and Meyers suffered no injuries in the exchange of gunfire.
The department posted a video to YouTube made up of body-worn camera footage and nearby recordings from a security camera.
The private footage captured images reflected in a window that shattered during the officer-involved shooting. Dearman appeared to leave the truck and point a pistol in the direction of the officers, prompting them to return fire. Aguilar’s and Meyers’ uniform-worn cameras also recorded video and audio of the shootout.
The events that led to the deadly shooting began at about 11:30 p.m., when police pulled Dearman over because of a broken brake light on the red Dodge Ram pickup truck he was driving, according to police.
In video from Aguilar’s body cam, the officers can be heard questioning Dearman about the light, his presence in the area and possible marijuana use.
Detecting the odor of marijuana, Aguilar and Meyers told Dearman, who admitted to possessing the drug, that they had to search his car to determine if he was transporting it illegally. He resisted, prompting an argument during which Aguilar told Dearman that if he failed to comply, the officers would “yank” him out of the truck.
“Give me my citation though. I’ll go on my way,” Dearman said, repeating that he had showed officers where the marijuana was in the truck.
“Your word means nothing. What I’m saying is, I need to verify that,” Aguilar replied, as he stood at the passenger window of the truck.
At Aguilar’s request, Meyers then ran a computer check on Dearman and “learned additional officer-safety information” about him, including that he had prior felony convictions for illegally carrying a firearm in a vehicle, according to police.
Later, a supervisor arrived, and the officers, this time seen in footage from Meyers’ body cam, again directed Dearman to step out of the vehicle. He refused. “No, I know my rights, man,” he said, protesting that he was no longer on parole. “You guys have been pulling me over a gang of times already.”
After further argument, and Dearman’s demand to see the supervisor, who also directs him to leave the truck, Aguilar opened the driver’s door. At that, the man started his engine and drove off.
He fled for two blocks, then stopped, got out and “immediately fired a handgun at the officers” as they exited their patrol vehicle, as reflected in the security footage.
Dearman quickly collapses in a barrage of gunfire from Aguilar and Meyers, cursing and attempting to raise his hands at the officers’ orders. He wouldn’t or couldn’t keep them up, despite their ongoing instructions.
At least one bullet fired by Dearman struck the front of the officers’ cruiser, on the driver’s side, narrowly missing Meyers, according to police.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department in investigating the OIS. A number of authorities will review the results, including the District Attorney’s Office, FBI, SDPD’s Internal Affairs Unit and the Commission on Police Practices.
– City News Service and staff reports