Video footage supposedly shows an Orange, California, officer fatally shoot a man after firefighters used a fire hose to remove the man from his van.
Officers pulled Michael Anthony Perez, 33, over at 11:15 pm Saturday for a broken tail light and discovered an open warrant associated with his license, according to Orange Police Sgt. Rob Thorsen. Authorities say Perez didn’t immediately stop, later pulling into a parking lot.
Perez reportedly barricaded himself in his GMC van for half an hour. KTLA reported that the Orange Fire Department intervened when he allegedly pulled out a lighter and gas container. Police spokesman Lt. Fred Lopez claimed Perez also poured the liquid into a rag and lit a cigarette.
— Orange PD (@OrangePolice) March 13, 2017
“At this point, the officers were no longer concerned about the traffic ticket,” Lopez said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It was, do we have a suicide? Do we have other incendiary devices inside the vehicle? That’s why a plan was devised to get him out of the vehicle.”
Officers broke the van’s windows out with batons then used the fire hose to flush him out. After several attempts, Perez exited the vehicle through the driver’s side window.
Footage captured yelling and shots fired as Perez brandished a knife, Lopez said. Perez was shot once in the upper torso and died the next day at the hospital.
“It’s a big loss because I’m going to really miss him,” the man’s aunt, Rose Becerra, told KTLA. “He loved his kids. That’s what I want the world to know. I want the world to know that he was funny.”
However, Perez’ stepfather-in-law Mike Medina said the father-of-six was dealing with drug addiction and a restraining order, filed by his wife, which stopped him from seeing four of his children.
“He was pretty disturbed,” Medina told The Orange County Register. “I tried to help him be a better person.”
Medina claimed Perez was living in his van for the past four months. The stepfather-in-law said he expected him to die of a methamphetamine overdose.
Orange Police Sgt. Jennifer Amat said the 33-year-old had an extensive criminal history, including narcotics and weapons violations.
“He was in a suicidal state of mind,” Medina said. “I tried to help him get back to work [as a handyman]. He had a lot of talent.”
The Orange County district attorney’s office is investigating the shooting.
[Feature Photo: OnScene.tv Screenshot]