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Long Beach police officers kill unarmed man

May 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The family of a man shot and killed by police said Sunday that he was unarmed and mentally ill.The L.A. District Attorney's office is now investigating the shooting death of 47-year-old Roketi "Rocky" Su'e. He was shot Saturday night by two police officers after a fight.

"Obviously we're all pretty upset. I really can't explain our feelings, but the best we can do is wait for the autopsy and the police report," said Laa-ull Toomalatal, the Su'e's nephew.

Police said it all started when they received several calls of a man acting erratically in a Long Beach neighborhood Saturday night. When officers arrived, they found Sue yelling and screaming in the middle of the street. They tried to arrest him, but he resisted, police said, and that's when one officer opened fire, fearing for his life.

An angry crowd then surrounded the scene, prompting officers to call for back up.

"This man had on no shirt, he had no weapons. There was no reason to shoot him," one neighbor said.

"It could have been prevented," said Lathaniul Harris, who witnessed the shooting. "I find that that's wrong."

Sue's family believes that a fight with his girlfriend caused his erratic behavior. They also say he suffered from bipolar disorder. Now they're hoping the evidence shows that the Long Beach police officers acted appropriately.

"We don't know the whole story. So until we get all the facts, we can definitely comment then," Toomalatal said.

In addition to the District Attorney's office, which routinely investigates all officer-involved shootings, homicide detectives with the Long Beach Police Department are also investigating. Witnesses are asked to call (562) 570-7244 with more information.

 

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