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Anaheim police officer-involved shootings under investigation

July 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A fatal officer-involved shooting in Anaheim Sunday was the second fatal shooting to happen in the city over the last two days.

The first shooting happened Saturday along the 700 block of North Anna Drive. The second happened Sunday night along the 400 block of West Guinida Lane.

Manuel Diaz, 25, was shot and killed by Anaheim police officers Saturday afternoon.

"What was he doing? He wasn't doing anything. He was not armed," said Daisy Gonzalez, a friend of Diaz's.

Police confirm Diaz was unarmed. Authorities allege Diaz was a documented gang member. He and two others started running as police on routine patrol ordered them to stop. Diaz was allegedly seen throwing unidentified items as police chased him. Shortly after, shots were fired.

"What precipitated the shooting, what caused that shooting is still under investigation. That is with the D.A.'s office now," said Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn.

The shooting sparked a near riot Saturday night as some people set fire to trash bins. Police used non-lethal rounds and pepper-spray, injuring some in the crowd. Police say it was in response to some known gang members who were throwing rocks and bottles at officers. Five people were arrested. Police say at least one person was bitten by a police dog after it jumped out of a patrol car, which police said was an accident.

The next day dozens crammed into the lobby of the Anaheim Police Department. Protesters were upset with police after several officer-involved shootings this past year.

The most recent was Sunday night at the end of a pursuit of a stolen vehicle. Police say officers were chasing a known gang member after he took off running. The suspect allegedly shot at officers. They fired back, hitting and killing him. A gun was found next to the suspect's body.

As police increase patrols, they're also dealing with complaints after a turbulent weekend.

Police are pledging transparency in both investigations of the shootings. The Anaheim city manager says a fourth layer of transparency will be added to the investigation. They will ask an independent agency to investigate both shootings.

"Each one of these incidents is evaluated by three different entities, we have an internal process that takes place when an officer-involved shooting occurs, whether it's fatal or not, and they look at our training, our tactics, our policies, procedures, anything we could have done better," said Dunn.

"I'm asking the state attorney general's office and the federal U.S. attorney's office for assistance with a full and independent investigation of the entire situation," said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait.

"There has been quite a few complaints, I don't have a number for you," said Dunn. "We have the obligation to investigate any complaint that we get and that's what we will work to do here."

The Orange County District Attorney's Office is asking for any witnesses that might have cellphone video, audio, or still photos of Saturday's officer-involved shooting to contact the OCDA Special Investigations Hotline at (714) 347-8544.

A rally was planned for Tuesday afternoon on the front steps of city hall in Anaheim before a scheduled city council meeting.


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