By Stanley Allison and Kevin Pang, The Los Angeles Times
Ending a tense standoff witnessed by more than a dozen bystanders,
Huntington Beach police shot and killed a man Saturday when he aimed
a replica gun at them, authorities and witnesses said.
unidentified man had called police to the scene, warning them that he
had a gun and was either going to shoot himself or "kill some cops,"
said Lt. Janet Perez of the Huntington Beach Police Department, who
called the man's death an apparent "suicide by cop."
police officers arrived at 14th Street and Orange Avenue near
downtown about 4:30 p.m., a five-minute standoff began. Authorities
repeatedly demanded that the man, who stood in the street, take his
hand out of his pocket, police and witnesses said.
him every opportunity to put the gun down," said David Steinway, who
As the man pulled out what appeared to be a
large-caliber, semiautomatic handgun and raised it, several officers
opened fire, police and witnesses said.
"He took a lot of
lead," said Matt Plummer, 31, of Huntington Beach, who witnessed the
The man was described as in his 40s with blond
buzzcut hair and a scruffy beard.
Once the man was down, a
police dog attacked him.
Witnesses said the dog had
approached the man twice before the shooting, but backed off.
"After the dog came back to the handler, all within a split
second, all you heard were gunshots," said Troy Massoth, who watched
the drama from his bedroom window.
Witnesses said the
authorities should be commended for their handling of the
"I really think the police did an excellent job,"
Plummer said. "This is what we have [them] for."
scene was too horrifying for Dallas Marcks, Massoth's stepson. He had
been watching, but turned away after the first shots.
didn't want to see a dead body," he said. "I'm 14 years old. I'm not
ready for that."
The downtown shooting came on the eve of the
city's centennial Fourth of July parade celebration, including a
$100,000 pyrotechnic display on the waterfront for the first time
since the 1970s.
Some witnesses said they mistook the gunfire
The Orange County Sheriff's Department is
investigating the shooting, as it does with any officer-involved