A Los Angeles television station obtained cell phone video from a witness to a Santa Ana police officer fatally shooting homeless father of two Hans Kevin Arellano on Tuesday afternoon. It's difficult to make out the action, but you clearly hear the death shot and the cameraman repeating, “Why'd they shoot him … why'd they shoot him.”
Meanwhile, another witness captured Arellano family members confronting police.
Here is the video obtained by CBS Los Angeles:
The witness, who wished to remain anonymous, reportedly told the station's news crew that the 13-year veteran officer got out of her patrol car in front of Jugo's La Tropicana juice bar on South Harbor Boulevard and asked Arellano to get on the ground.
“The gentlemen didn't get on the ground, he was still inside the restaurant,” the witness continued. “She asked again. The man then exited the restaurant, and as he was exiting the restaurant, he said, 'What are you gonna do, bitch?' About a second later, she shot him in the chest.”
“Obviously this is the first time we've seen this,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, the Santa Ana Police Department spokesman, reportedly explained after being shown the footage by CBS2 reporter Michele Gile.
“This is something that is going to be a key piece of evidence. It's something that we encourage people, if they have, to bring forward. This needs to get in the hands of the D.A. and our detectives. Like the chief said [Wednesday], we're trying to be open and honest. There's three separate investigations that are going on simultaneously. This portion, as the chief said, I can't comment on.”
Gile also showed the video to Arellano's relatives, who were reported to be “horrified” by what they saw. They believe the cop should not have used lethal force on the man who has become the fifth person shot dead by Santa Ana Police this year.
“I believe they should have Tased him, hit him with a baton, anything, but not shot him to kill him,” Arellano's niece, Yenniffer Moreno, reportedly told Gile.
Family members are seen in video a different witness shot immediately after Tuesday's incident, emotionally seeking answers from Bertagna and other Santa Ana cops.
Police, who initially described Arellano as a convicted burglar, now add he was suspected of robbery. His family and friends have countered he was trying to turn his life around.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.