BARSTOW, Calif. (KABC) -- For the first time, two passengers who were inside a car when Barstow police opened fire, killing the driver, earlier this month are speaking out and questioning the use of deadly force.
The passengers say they feared for their lives and they don't believe the shooting was justified. They claim the driver was complying with officers' orders when he was shot.
Video from an eyewitness shows a black Mustang going in reverse and nearly striking an officer in the April 5 incident.
Authorities say the driver, 26-year old Diante Yarber, was shot and killed by officers after he backed into a patrol car and then accelerated and hit another police vehicle.
The shooting happened in the parking lot of a Walmart.
Barstow police say the officers were responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle and were attempting to stop the car. Yarber died at the scene. A female passenger was hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds.
Two other passengers who were in the car that day are now telling their story.
"In the process of him going backwards, I just hear gunshots," said Weslie Yarber, Diante's cousin. "At that point I just felt I should be ducking. And I ducked. And bullets kept coming. The glass shatters. And I feel the car just rolling back with nobody controlling it. I figure that the driver's shot."
Diante Yarber was not armed. Officials say he has a lengthy criminal history and was on probation. Records show a felony warrant was out for his arrest.
It was not clear if the officers at the time knew of his identity.
Yarber was the father of three young children. His family plans to file a lawsuit on their behalf.
Passengers give inside account of Barstow officer-involved shooting
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