An Uber driver picked up Paul Anderson and his girlfriend in Anaheim this April only to have the ride end in a deadly officer-involved shooting. Man, can't these Uber drivers catch a break? At least Anderson, who police said armed himself with a submachine gun before leaving the car, was much nicer to his driver than the slap-happy fired Taco Bell executive Benjamin Golden was with his! "No ma'am, you didn't do anything wrong. It's me," Anderson reportedly said before going on to meet his fate.
A newly released report by the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) says Anderson's troubles with Anaheim police began on April 3. California Highway Patrol officers tried to serve an arrest warrant for Mayra Frausto, his girlfriend, at her home when APD spotted him hopping a wall. Anderson got in a truck and led the po-po on a short pursuit before getting arrested in Placentia.
The 32-year-old posted bail and went back to see his lady the next morning. Neither Anderson nor his girlfriend knew that Anaheim police connected the two and searched her home after his arrest, seizing nearly 16 pounds of marijuana. He asked Frausto for a ride to be with his mother–an odd request since she's deceased. Anderson's girlfriend left her car at a Wal-Mart parking lot, so they called an Uber driver who arrived in a Toyota Prius.
Anaheim police, readying the arrest warrant for Frausto, cased out the apartment and began tailing the Prius. Police turned their headlights on and pulled the Uber driver over around the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Glassell Street in Orange. "Oh my God, what did I do wrong?" she asked her passengers when Anderson gave his reassurance.
According to the OCDA report, Anderson pulled a submachine gun from his backpack before telling Frausto, "I'm sorry, I love you." He fled the car ignoring police commands to drop the weapon when they spotted it.
Officer Chris Petropulos yelled "gun" firing once without cover and three more times after Anderson fell down near a sidewalk. Other cops gave statements to investigators that they heard gunshots they believed came from Anderson shortly after he exited the car. Officer Erin Moore fired her weapon twice and Sgt. Ben Starke added four bullets into the fray from his gun. Police recovered the submachine gun from underneath Anderson's body and moved it to the backseat of an APD vehicle once the scene had been secured.
Anaheim police fired a total of ten bullets, hitting Anderson seven times but an autopsy determined that none of them proved to be fatal. Three gun shots to Anderson's head killed him, but where did they come from? The Orange County Crime Lab determined Anderson's wounds were self-inflicted at a close range with his submachine gun.
"The officers did not commit a crime," the OCDA report concludes,"To the contrary, they carried out their duties as peace officers in a reasonable and justifiable manner."
But hey! What about those expensive body-worn cameras Anaheim police are outfitted with? The OCDA made no mention of them in the overview of their investigation. Some transparency!
As always, read the report in its entirety online.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2