Los Angeles Police Department officials said a black teenager whose death prompted angry protests over the weekend was armed with a loaded handgun when police fatally shot him Saturday afternoon.
Police Chief Charlie Beck said during a news conference Monday that Carnell Snell Jr. was holding the handgun in his left hand and turned toward the direction of police officers, who then fired six times, hitting Snell twice. The 18-year-old died immediately.
Beck said Snell did not fire back, adding that the handgun was still fully loaded after the shooting.
The incident happened at about 1 p.m., when police officers spotted a light-blue Nissan Altima with paper license plates and suspected that the vehicle was stolen. Beck said Snell, who was sitting in the back passenger seat, ducked after he saw the officers.
The car then stopped at 106th Street and Western Avenue in south Los Angeles, where two passengers, one of whom was Snell, got out of the car and ran in opposite directions. The officers chased Snell, whom they believed was holding a handgun. The teen ran to the back of a house on 107th Street, where he was later shot, police said.
Beck said officials are still waiting for autopsy results, but preliminary investigation showed that Snell was struck in the torso and in the knee.
Snell’s shooting drew dozens of protesters and local activists, who blocked the intersection near the house where he was shot. Some waved “Black Lives Matter” signs, according to media reports. Some yelled at a line of officers in riot gear, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“A police officer should not be the judge, the jury and the executioner,” Tia Gonzalez, 36, told the Times.
In a tweet sent at 2:45 a.m. Sunday, the Los Angeles Police Department said the protesters were “vocal, but peaceful.”
Another protest occurred Sunday night as angry demonstrators blocked traffic at 108 Street and Western Avenue, the Times reported. Some protesters, who chanted and carried signs, harassed news reporters and vandalized local businesses, according to the paper.
The protest stemmed from a vigil for Snell that began earlier that evening, the Times reported.
Snell’s mother, Monique Morgan, begged officers to let her past the crime scene tape to see her son’s body, according to the Times.
“Please, can I see my son?” she said Saturday. “I want to see my son.”
A distraught Morgan told reporters that she and her family received a phone call saying her son was shot five times in the back, the Associated Press reported, though police have not verified that account.
Relatives told reporters that Snell was killed on the same street where he lived.
Witnesses told CBS affiliate KCAL that Snell was running with his hands up and was telling officers to not shoot him.
Snell’s sister, Trenell Snell, 17, said she saw her brother running from police. Moments later, she heard gunfire, according to the Times.
“At the end of the day, the cops came and shot my brother,” she said. “Killed my brother.”
Protesters also wrote chalked messages on the street near Snell was shot.
“Say his name,” the message reads.
It’s unclear at this time where the driver and the other passenger are.
Snell’s shooting comes on the heels of police shootings of black men in Charlotte, N.C., Tulsa, and El Cajon, Calif.
The fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, on Sept. 20 prompted riots in Charlotte and repeated calls for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney to release video footage of the shooting. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) also declared a state of emergency.
Putney later released the footage amid pressure from the public. The video, however, does not show whether Scott was armed.
In Tulsa, Officer Betty Jo Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 16 death of Terence Crutcher, who was unarmed and was holding his hands in the air before he was shot in the chest. Shelby pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Friday.
More recently, in El Cajon near San Diego, authorities have released the videos showing the minutes leading to the Sept. 27 fatal shooting of Alfred Olango, 38, who was also unarmed. Police said Olango, described by his relatives as “mentally challenged,” pulled something from his pocket and took “a shooting stance” before he was shot multiple times.
According to The Washington Post’s database, police have fatally shot 719 people this year. In 2015, 991 people were shot by police. Of those shot this year, 43 were unarmed, while nearly 400 had a gun.
During Monday’s news conference, Beck said, “Any loss of life is tragic, and we at the Los Angeles Police Department understand that some of our communities are so severely impacted by violence including use of force by police.”
The post, originally published on Oct. 2, has been updated.