A police shooting and killing of alleged car thief suspect Deon Williams is causing a firestorm in Little Rock, Ark., according to Fox 16.com.
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According to a news release from the Little Rock Police Department Monday:
On July 15, 2013, at approximately 11:40 a.m. officers of the Little Rock Police Department were on patrol in the area of 12th and Jonesboro Street, when they observed a black Chevy Suburban that they thought matched the description of one they had seen on the LRPD stolen vehicle alert sheet.
According to officers, the marked police vehicle passed the Suburban and the officers observed that it had what they thought was an expired license plate. The officers pulled over to let the vehicle pass them, however the vehicle had pulled over and stopped on the side of the street.
After waiting for a short period of time, the officers decided to turn around and make contact with the driver since the vehicle was not moving. As the officers were turning their vehicle around, they observed the driver exit the driver’s side of the Suburban.
The subject began walking away and one of the officers observed a bulge in his waistband and he thought the subject was trying to conceal something. Officers asked the subject to walk over to their vehicle and at that point the subject began to flee.
One officer began a foot pursuit and the other officer got in the patrol vehicle and attempted to cut the subject off. The officer on foot pursued the subject to the back yard of a house in the 1100 block of Adams Street. As the officer came around the corner of this yard he saw a handgun fall out of the subject’s waistband.
The officer had his Taser out at the time and dropped it when he saw the handgun. He drew his service weapon and saw the subject pick up the handgun, look towards him, and start to get to his feet. At that point, the officer feared for his life and fired his service weapon approximately three times. The subject fell to the ground and was taken into custody.
Twenty-six-year-old Williams (pictured) later died of his wounds, with Officer Terry McDaniel later identified as responsible for the shots that killed Williams, according to an updated report. After the shooting, officers say they found drugs and a firearm on Williams.
Still, police admitted Tuesday that the vehicle was not stolen and Williams did not fire at the officers.
The vehicle actually belonged to Shemedia Shelton, Williams’ friend, who reiterated, “It [the car] was not stolen.”
Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave during the department’s investigation.
As police investigated the crime scene later that day, protesters chanted and threw bottles and cans on the street. One person carried a sign saying, “Stop Killing Our Kids!” Police arrested another protester who reportedly yelled, “I’m just trying to voice my opinion and this man wants to lock me up!” as they lead him away in handcuffs.
Police Chief Thomas Stuart defended the people’s right to protest — but also officers’ rights to investigate the scene.
“People have a right to express their opinions and ideas and we’re going to protect that right,” he said. ”By the same token, we have an obligation to follow through with what we have to do at the scene.”
The protests preceded a candlelight vigil for Trayvon Martin that happened later that night.