Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers shot dead a homeless man after a dramatic altercation, authorities revealed on Sunday night. The entire episode was recorded in a video, which went viral online in no time.
The graphic footage shows many police personnel trying to pacify a "homeless" man in the city's Skid Row area. In the video, a man is seen swinging his arms violently at the LAPD before he is pushed to the ground.
At least three officers, who are seen struggling to restrain the man, are heard shouting: "Drop the gun! Drop the gun!" Seconds later, at least five gunshots are heard. Police haven't confirmed as yet if the man in question was armed.
Police spokesman Sgt Barry Montgomery said LAPD responded to complaints regarding a purported robbery in the area. However, he refused to identify the man or even specify the number of police officers involved in the incident.
The man "continued fighting and resisting" despite several warnings and did not budge even after a taser was used.
"At some point in there, a struggle over one of the officer's weapons occurred," said Cmdr Andrew Smith, LA Times reports. "At that point an officer-involved shooting happened." Stating he wasn't certain how many times the officer shot the man, he added that two officers and a sergeant fired at the man and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
There is no clarity on the exact sequence of events that led to the fatal shooting. In the beginning of the video, a man is seen swinging punches at the police officers in a pavement as two other offices join the struggle to contain him.
As the "homeless" man is subdued and knocked to the ground, a woman appears to be picking up a fallen police baton as someone is heard shouting, "Give me my stick! Give me my stick!"
In the foreground of the footage, police then turn to tackle the woman – the instance that partially makes the video obscure. It is then that the voice, "Drop the gun!" is heard four times before five gun shots are heard.
The man taking the video is heard swearing when the man is shot.
Watch the YouTube video below: (Warning: The footage is disturbing)