Five people were arrested in Anaheim, Calif., this weekend after angry residents took to the streets and stormed police headquarters during a day of near-rioting that followed the shooting death of a suspect who was being chased by police.
Police were pursuing three suspects into an alley in Anaheim at about 4 p.m. Saturday when they chased 25-year-old Manuel Angel Diaz. The man was confronted by an officer at the front of an apartment complex, where he was shot. Diaz later died in the hospital, while the two other suspects managed to evade the police.
Authorities said the officers involved in the chase approached Diaz, who, they say, was a known gang member, along with two others in an alley because they were acting suspiciously. Diaz then ran when officers ordered him to stop, and then threw something over a fence, police said.
Police would not say what led the officer to shoot Diaz at the front of an apartment complex, and cited an independent investigation by the county’s district attorney office.
Hours after the shooting, area residents took to the streets, setting a dumpster on fire and tossing rocks and bottles at police officers who were investigating the shooting. As officers attempted to diffuse the unrest, they fired rubber bullets and doused the crowd with pepper spray.
Police said that several gang members incited the crowd, according to KABC-TV.
In the midst of the melee, police released a K-9 dog into the crowd. Video of the scene shows the dog charging at the crowd, which included a woman with a child, before it attacked a man by biting his arm. Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn said in a statement that the release of the dog was accidental and that police assisted with the man’s medical treatment.This incident is under internal investigation.
A total of five arrests — including two juveniles — were made during the clash, most of which were on minor violations. Police said one gang member who had been inciting the crowd was arrested in relation to a gang-related killing that took place in May.
Speaking at a Sunday news conference, Chief John Welter said that officers were attempting to protect the scene of the crime. He also said two officers were placed on paid leave after the shooting.
“The reason for the shooting is still under investigation by the district attorney and we have no influence, no control or input into that investigation, so we just merely provide scene protection making sure that any evidence or any other information or detail is not disrupted in the crime scene,” Welter said.
Protesters turned up Sunday at the Anaheim Police Department where they picketed and demanded justice, KABC reported. Protesters chanted “no justice, no peace” and “cops, pigs, murderers” as officers stood by and watched, The Associated Press reported.
Yesenia Rojas, an Orange County resident, told WABC that she was trying to protect her children during the incident when she was struck by rubber pellets multiple times.
“Is Anaheim police really protecting our communities? They’re not protecting our communities. They’re killing our kids,” Rojas said.
Police Chief Welter and Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait are calling on the California attorney general to make a full and independent investigation, and urging area residents to remain calm.
“I’m asking for a full investigation,” Tait said at a news conference Sunday. “Transparency is essential. Whatever the truth is, we will own it.”
A second gang-related shooting also took place in Anaheim Sunday. The AP reported that anti-gang officers spotted a gang member late Sunday in an SUV, and three people jumped from the vehicle after a short pursuit. One suspect was shot and killed by an officer after he fired one or two rounds at him.
Anti-gang officers late Sunday spotted a gang member in a stolen sport utility vehicle, and a brief pursuit ended when three people jumped from the SUV and ran, authorities said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report