The San Bernardino Police Department is asking the public to “withhold their judgment” after security footage circulating online appeared to show officers shoot a man who was running away.
The shooting happened around 8:05 p.m. on Saturday at a parking lot on the 400 Block of West Highland Avenue. The parking lot, police say, is located next to an illegal gambling business.
Police responded to the scene after receiving reports of an armed man in the parking lot.
Video shared on social media Monday showed the officers arrive in an unmarked vehicle as it slowly comes to a stop in the parking lot. As they arrived, 23-year-old Robert Marquise Adams of San Bernardino, who police say was armed with a handgun, approached the unmarked vehicle with the gun in his hand.
When officers got out of the vehicle, Adams immediately turns away and begins to run.
A news release from the San Bernardino Police Department alleges that the officers, who the Department says were wearing their police uniforms, attempted to give Adams undisclosed verbal commands.
But Adams ran from the officers towards two cars with his firearm still in his hand. That’s when one of the officers opened fire, striking Adams.
Police did not specify where Adams was hit, but the video appears to show him being struck in the back. They also did not specify how many shots were fired, although online activists allege as many as nine shots were fired.
Adams was transported to the hospital for treatment but later died from his injuries. Police said a loaded “Taurus G3C 9mm with a bullet in the chamber” was recovered at the scene.
Activist Shaun King shared the video on his Instagram page, calling the shooting “a brutal execution.”
“Police rolled up in an unmarked car. With dark tinted windows,” King said in his Instagram post. “Robert had NO IDEA who they were and in an instant police jumped out and murdered him.”
In the news release, Chief Darren Goodman asked the public to withhold judgment until the investigation is complete. Police officials also lambasted the video of police shooting Adams, who is Black, which they say was posted without context or specific details.
Adams’ father told KTLA that his son was armed and “protecting himself” due to violent robberies in the area. He also said police have provided him with little information about his son’s death.
The Police Department said it is still investigating the shooting and “still gathering facts and evidence” and it plans to release a video with additional footage and details in the near future.
The shooting is currently under investigation by the Police Department. It’s unclear if an outside law enforcement agency will take over the investigation at some point. A this time, anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact Detective Flesher at 909-384-5655.