“Unless you know they are actively engaging you with gunfire, its hard to justify shooting at four people, when, at best, the driver was committing the criminal act,” he continued.
Mr. Yarber, he said, “wasn’t complying — and they decided to execute him for it.”
Neither a Barstow police captain nor a city spokesman returned a phone message on Wednesday night seeking comment.
In two separate news releases — one provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the other from the Barstow police — the authorities say that the shooting occurred around 11 a.m.
Barstow police officers had responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of the Walmart, the authorities said. They believed the driver was “a subject wanted for questioning in a recent crime involving a stolen vehicle,” one of the releases said.
When the officers got to the Walmart, they found the car, a black Mustang, in the parking lot. The car had been moving, but came to a stop in a parking spot. The officers got out of their vehicles and told the driver of the Mustang to do the same, the authorities said.
In their release, the Barstow police said Mr. Yarber first “began accelerating his vehicle in reverse, striking a police vehicle.”
“The vehicle then accelerated forward toward the officers, and then accelerated in reverse toward officers and striking another patrol vehicle,” the Barstow police said. “Afterward, an officer-involved shooting ensued.”
The video posted by Mr. King shows the shooting in real time for a total of about seven seconds. Mr. Merritt confirmed that the video is of the shooting involving Mr. Yarber.
It was not clear what happened before the recording started or after it ended. In the video, rapid gunfire can be heard as a black car appears to drive slowly in reverse.
A version of the same video that has been slowed down appears to show the car beginning to back up, just before two gunshots ring out; almost immediately after, the car appears to back into or swipe what looks like a police vehicle. (Mr. Merritt claims that the police vehicle moved into the Mustang’s path.) The gunfire continues in rapid succession.
Mr. Yarber, who Mr. Merritt said had been struck repeatedly, was pronounced dead at the scene, the authorities said. Another passenger, a woman identified by Mr. Merritt as Mariana Tafoya, was also struck by gunfire and was airlifted to a hospital, the police said. Mr. Merritt said she had been struck in the abdomen and the leg.
The two other passengers, both men, got out of the Mustang during the episode, and one of them sustained what the authorities called “minor injuries.”
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s specialized investigations division is investigating the shooting. A department spokeswoman referred questions about it to the Barstow police.
The episode occurred just weeks after the police in Sacramento fatally shot another black man, Stephon Clark. Mr. Clark’s death set off marches across that city.
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