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(SKY NEWS) — Six police officers have shot dead a man they found asleep in his car with a gun on his lap, authorities in California said.
Police have not yet officially named him, but family members say he was Willie James McCoy, a 20-year-old aspiring rapper.
The shooting happened on 9 February in Vallejo, about 35 miles north of San Francisco, after staff at a Taco Bell restaurant reported a man slumped over in a car.
Police said in a statement they found the driver “unresponsive” with a gun on his lap.
The two officers did not try to wake him but called for back-up and planned to quietly take the weapon from the car.
Vallejo Police said the car was locked and its transmission in drive.
“While officers were still positioning a patrol unit to the rear of the vehicle, and waiting for the [police] supervisor, the driver began to suddenly move and looked at the uniformed patrol officers,” said the statement.
“Officers gave the driver several commands to put his hands up. The driver did not comply and instead he quickly moved his hands downward for the firearm.
“Fearing for their safety, six officers fired their duty weapons at the driver.”
Police said the officers fired “multiple rounds” for around four seconds before reaching through the broken glass to unlock the car and remove the man.
He died at the scene despite attempts to resuscitate him.
The gun recovered was fully loaded and reported stolen from Oregon, police said.
David Harrison, 48, told the Los Angeles Times that the man killed was his cousin, Willie James McCoy, and described him as a “goodhearted kid”.
He said Mr McCoy had been at a studio recording music earlier in the day and had just finished touring with his family, so must have been tired.
In a Facebook video, Mr Harrison criticised the police and said they “can’t just keep killing us in the streets like this”.
“My little cousin was asleep in the car – they shot him 20 mother******* times,” he said.
The 20-year-old’s brother, Marc McCoy, told the Guardian there “was no attempt to try to work out a peaceful solution”.
He said: “The police’s job is to arrest people who are breaking the law – not take the law into your own hands. You’re not judge, jury and executioner … We’re never going to get over this.”
Vallejo police chief Andrew Bidou said “any loss of life is a tragedy” and the investigation was still in the early stages.
“Information confirming the driver’s identity, how many times the driver was struck by gunfire, and toxicology will not be available until the autopsy is completed,” added the police statement.
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