What We Know About the Police Shooting Death of CJ Snell

Tuesday, October 4, 2016
What We Know About the Police Shooting Death of CJ Snell
People gather and protest for Carnell Snell Jr., who was fatally shot by a Los Angeles police officer, on Oct. 1, 2016, in Los Angeles.

Activists took to the streets of South Los Angeles for the second consecutive night to protest the police shooting death of Carnell "C.J." Snell, an 18-year-old man who police say was armed at the time he was shot.

Here's what we know about the shooting so far.

The Shooting Started With a Chase

An officer spotted a car with "paper plates" and tried to stop it at around 1 p.m. Saturday in the city of South Los Angeles, police said. The driver of the vehicle had disobeyed a command to stop and officers pursued the vehicle, police said.

Police reported the vehicle as possibly stolen.

After the car stopped, two men fled the car and split up in separate directions, police said in a release. The officers chased one of the two, and shot him, they said. Paramedics declared him deceased at the scene, according to the release. Family members have identified that man as Snell.

Police say that a handgun was recovered at the scene.

Family Members Say Snell Was Shot in the Back

Snell's mother, Monique Morgan, was so overcome with grief that she could barely stand upright as she spoke to reporters about her son's death. While speaking to a group of reporters later Saturday, including ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV, Morgan said, "my daughter got a phone call; it said that the police shot him," she said.

She complained that police have failed to give her information, and that she wasn't allowed to see his body. The LAPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Morgan's claim.

The daughter Morgan mentioned was likely 17-year-old Trenell Snell, who was outside with friends when she saw her older brother, C.J. Snell, running from police, according to The Los Angeles Times.

She started running too, according to the paper, and then heard gunfire. She dropped to the ground, she said, and when she got up, she saw her brother in handcuffs.

"At the end of the day, the cops came and shot my brother," she told the Times.

Family members say he was shot five times, but police have not commented on that number, according to KABC. The Associated Press reported that a black gate on the property where the shooting occurred was riddled with six bullet holes.

Friends and Family Have Spoken Out on Snell's Behalf

Snell was "a good kid" who had gotten into some trouble, his cousin James Johnson told KABC.

"He was a little trouble, but he was doing good. He was trying to get back into church. He was just being a kid in the neighborhood," Johnson told the station.

Tiffany Hobbs, a former teacher of Snell's, wrote on a Facebook post that "Carnell was trying," without elaborating.

Seeing his name turned into a hashtag is troubling, Hobbs said.

"I'm afraid of the rage that stays on the tip of my tongue. I'm afraid of Carnell's life being reduced to a hashtag," she wrote.

"His hands were up when he was shot in the back. He will always be more than what the LAPD considers as disposable. He made my day every day. He made all of our days. He was 18. Rest sweet, Carnell."

Well-wishers placed makeshift shrines in the area where Snell, who was black, was shot.

People Took to the Streets to Voice Their Anger

The local chapter of Black Lives Matter, as well as other concerned residents, took to the streets soon after the shooting, and have been protesting for two days.

Video captured by KABC shows protesters coming face to face with police in verbal arguments after the shooting Saturday, a reminder of the tense relationship LAPD has had with the city's black population for decades.

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