Carnell Snell Jr.
Carnell Snell Jr.

An 18-year-old teen who was killed by police in South Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon was carrying a handgun in his left hand and was shot when he turned toward the officers during a foot chase, police Chief Charlie Beck said Monday.

Carnell Snell Jr. was shot about 1 p.m. Saturday near 107th Street and Western Avenue, and died at the scene. His death sparked two nights of protests in South Los Angeles and outside the mayor’s home.

Beck said officers assigned to the Metropolitan Division were near 108th Street and Western Saturday afternoon and saw a light blue Nissan Altima with paper plates that they believed was a stolen vehicle.

“As their attention was fixed to the vehicle, they observed an individual seated in the rear of the vehicle who was later identified as Carnell Snell, who looked in their direction, and then ducked down as if to hide from them,” Beck said.

“They pulled in behind the vehicle, and began to follow,” Beck said. “The vehicle slowed, and as the officers activated their emergency equipment, the vehicle slowed to the degree that Carnell Snell exited the vehicle holding his waistband as if he was supporting something.

“The officers believed, due to their experience and his prior actions … that he may be holding a handgun,” Beck said.

“Because of this belief, they went in foot pursuit,” Beck said.

“At one point during their foot pursuit, which was 200 to 300 yards in total, they observed him remove a handgun from his waistband and hold it in his left hand. He ran into a driveway in the 1700 block of 107th Street and while holding the handgun in his left hand, he turned in the direction of the pursuing officers, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred. A total of six rounds were fired, and Carnell Snell was sent to the pavement,” Beck said.

Paramedics pronounced Snell dead at the scene.

“A loaded semiautomatic handgun was found near Snell’s body,  no more than five feet away,” Beck said.

The chief said preliminary information indicated that Snell was shot twice — once in the body and once in a knee.

Beck displayed a photo of the handgun, which he said had not been fired by Snell, and was fully loaded when it was recovered. The officers were not wearing body cameras, Beck said.

“But we have obtained video from a local business that clearly shows Snell in possession of a handgun as he was being pursued by the officers. As a matter of fact it shows him holding it in his left hand,” Beck said.

Following the shooting, protesters gathered at the shooting scene.

About 50 people staged a peaceful demonstration Saturday night at 108th Street and Western Avenue. Another group of an estimated 30-to-40 protesters lined up at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday outside Mayor Eric Garcetti’s home at Sixth Street and Irvine Boulevard in Hancock Park.

Eggs were thrown at the mayor’s home overnight, and crews were seen cleaning egg from the roof of the home Sunday morning.

On Sunday night, more protesters gathered, and at least two cars were seen speeding and leaving spin marks in the middle of the intersection of Western Avenue and 108th Street — sometimes within feet of demonstrators. Young men were also seen spray-painting windows of local businesses.

During Beck’s news conference this morning, a group of protesters gathered inside the lobby of police headquarters, not far from the room in which Beck was speaking with reporters.

Some protesters chanted “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter.” After about a half-hour, police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly. Three people were arrested, and the protesters moved to the sidewalk outside the building.

–Staff and wire reports

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