An armed man was shot and killed by a San Bernardino police officer on Thursday night. The deadly police shooting of 35-year-old Mark Matthew Bender Jr. sparked protests and civil unrest in San Bernardino, California, on Friday.
The officer was dispatched to the area at 11:16 p.m. in response to reports of a man jumping on vehicles in a parking lot, according to San Bernardino police Sgt. John Echevarria.
The San Bernardino Police released the 911 audio, in which the caller makes a complaint about a “man who’s really drunk and he’s waving around a gun.”
“There’s a man whos real drunk up here jumping on top of cars, he has a gun, and he’s just going crazy,” the caller told the police dispatcher. She described him as a black man with a white shirt and black shorts.
San Bernardino Police released body camera video, which shows the officer is in the parking lot approaching Bender, who fits the description of the 911 caller. The police officer pulls out his gun and points it at Bender. “Let me see your hands,” the officer instructs Bender, who raises his hands briefly and then puts them back on his side. Bender continues to walk away from the officer and tells the cop, “Man, I’m going to the store.”
The officer puts his gun away and attempts to apprehend the suspect, who tells him, “Don’t touch me!”
Cell phone video taken by a witness shows a police officer attempt to subdue a man outside the King Tut Liquor store in San Bernardino.
The police officer wrestles Bender to the ground and tells him, “Stop fighting, dude.” During the confrontation, Bender is seen on video reaching for an item in his waistband that appears to be a handgun.
Both men get up from the ground, and the officer draws his weapon and fires four shots at the suspect. The video ends as the officer collides with the bystander recording the video.
Bender was taken to the hospital but died from his injuries.
(Content Warning: Graphic video):
Regarding the last Press Release we just published, here is video of the incident. The images can be graphic, therefore, Viewer Discretion is Advised. Investigation #2020-114893. pic.twitter.com/9VM3oOZNQp
— San Bernardino PD (@SanBernardinoPD) October 23, 2020
A loaded 9mm handgun was recovered at the scene, Echevarria said. The gun was not registered.
“The suspect was large in size and was able to physically overpower the officer,” Echevarria said. “The suspect retrieved a weapon from his pocket and was turning to face the officer. At that time, an officer-involved shooting occurred.”
“The officer saw the weapon, and during the struggle, was able to disengage during that fight for control of that suspect, and was able to back away and protect himself by discharging his weapon,” Echevarria added.
“Bender had a criminal history going back 17 years, Echevarria said, with arrests for allegations of attempted murder, false imprisonment, domestic violence, theft and possession of narcotics,” KCAL-TV reported.
Protests calling for justice in the death of Bender erupted outside the King Tut Liquor store on Friday.
“What I can do, is tear down the system that lifts up crackers with badges, and gives them power to be judge, jury, and executioner,” one demonstrator told the crowd.
Social media posts show demonstrators shouting, “Abolish the police!” “Defund the police!” and “F*** the police!” The protest spilled out into the streets, where protesters blocked an intersection.
Video appears to show a man assaulting a person driving a car slowly through the intersection. Another man keys the vehicle, according to investigative reporter Drew Hernandez. Another car is reportedly keyed as it drives through the intersection, which causes protesters to cheer and clap.
SAN BERNARDINO: A BLM protester punches a Hispanic woman in the face and another BLM protester keys her car after BLM protesters shut down an intersection (baseline/waterman) pic.twitter.com/65HeNgRfua
— Drew Hernandez (@livesmattershow) October 24, 2020