Footage released Friday from a body camera worn by a Fullerton police officer who fatally shot a 17-year-old girl shows the teen pointing what police say was a replica handgun at the officer prior to the shooting.
The footage, which was released by the Fullerton Police Department after it was shared with the family of 17-year-old Hannah Williams, also shows the replica handgun lying on the Riverside (91) Freeway as the wounded teen writhes in pain on the roadway.
The department also released audio of a 911 call placed by Williams’ father the day of the shooting, reporting that his daughter had taken his rental SUV — a Dodge Durango — and gone missing. In the call, Benson Williams tearfully told a dispatcher that his daughter was on anti-depressants and he was worried that she might try to hurt herself.
The shooting occurred about 7 p.m. Friday on the 91 Freeway east of Kraemer Boulevard.
Williams’ family has raised questions about the propriety of the shooting, insisting the teen was unarmed at the time. According to the District Attorney’s Office, a replica handgun designed to look like a Beretta 92FS handgun was recovered at the scene of the shooting. A representative of Williams’ family said earlier this week that relatives have no idea where that fake weapon came from.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, which is assisting in the investigation of the shooting, the officer was driving east on the 91 Freeway and saw the teen driver, who was also eastbound, speeding near Glassell Avenue and at some point “the two vehicles made physical contact.”
On the video released by police, the officer radios a dispatcher to say a “car just TC’d (crashed) into me on purpose,” and that “I’ve got a female driver who’s uncooperative.”
The footage shows the officer exiting his patrol vehicle and walking around the SUV the teen was driving. As he comes around the vehicle, the teen can be seen in a “shooting stance” and pointing something — believed to be the replica weapon — at the officer. The officer then opens fire, and the teen collapses on the freeway.
“Please help me, please,” the teen cries out as the officer approaches her. As she’s being handcuffed, she says, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”
Williams’ family this week called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to order Attorney General Xavier Becerra to conduct a civil-rights investigation into the shooting.
Williams, who worked as a lifeguard at Knott’s Berry Farm, moved to Southern California less than a year ago with her family from Phoenix.
According to her family, Williams considered community service an “integral part” of her life, “as exemplified by her work as a lifeguard, her commitment to save lives.” The teen also “loved volunteering at community healthcare with her parents.”
“The public wants to know what happened and whether or not the officers involved followed all policies and procedures. We have doubts,” according to the family’s statement.
The family also announced plans to “have an independent autopsy conducted, fearing police will delay in releasing official autopsy results and continue to withhold information about the nature of the shooting from the public.”
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