Caught on video: Armed man shot and killed by officer outside San Bernardino liquor store
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - A man is dead after a struggle with a police officer ended in gunfire outside a liquor store in San Bernardino late Thursday night, officials said.
Police say the man was armed and the deadly shooting was captured by a witness on cell phone video.
The shooting occurred outside the King Tut Liquor store located near the intersection of Baseline Street and Waterman Avenue just before 11:30 p.m.
According to 911 audio released by the San Bernardino Police Department, a woman called 911 reporting a man "jumping on cars," and told officers the man had a gun.
A witness told FOX 11's Christina Gonzalez that a male officer tried to talk to the man accused of jumping on cars, but the man "didn't want to deal with him."
Police identified the suspect involved in the deadly altercation as 35-year-old Mark Bender Jr., of San Bernardino, during a news conference on Friday morning.
The cell phone recording shows the officer struggling as he tackles Bender to the ground. At one point, the video shows the officer on Bender's back. Shortly after, Bender overpowered the officer as he seemingly slides off back. As Bender stands up, it appears he reached for a weapon on the right side of his body when the officer backs up, followed by the sounds of gunfire as Bender is shot at point-blank range.
“Dude was coming out and he started fighting that dude and the dude tried to get up and all we heard was ‘bam bam bam bam.’ He shot the man. The police shot that man,” a witness said.
The police department said the officer fired four shots and Bender was hit multiple times. Officers at the scene rendered aid and Bender was rushed to a local hospital where he died, authorities said.
Fox 11 spoke with a woman named Atinique who said she was at the liquor store when the shooting happened and said she knew Bender.
"Words can't even explain. I have nothing to say. I'm disappointed. I'm hurt," said Atinique.
Atinique said Bender was shot and killed before her.
"He died right in front of my face. The police shot him like four times. He was laying right here dead. I was standing right here. He [Bender] was resisting. He was running trying to get away, but who wouldn't?" she said.
"The officer attempted to physically restrain the suspect, placing himself between the suspect and the entrance to the store. A physical altercation occurred between the officer and the suspect. The suspect was about to physically overpower the officer and retrieved a weapon from his pocket, and was turning to face the officer," the department said in a press release late Friday morning.
SBPD investigators said they located a black 9MM semi-automatic handgun at the scene. Bender did not open fire at the officer during the struggle with the said handgun.
The preliminary investigation revealed the handgun was both functional and loaded. In addition, officials said the gun had no record of ownership with the California Department of Justice.
SBPD said in a press release that Bender has a "lengthy violent criminal past going back 17 years." Bender's previous arrests include domestic violence, grand theft, possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics for sale, possession of a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, and receiving stolen property.
Bender, an ex-felon, was not allowed to possess a firearm at the time of the deadly incident, per state laws.
Emotions boiled over and after the shooting, witnesses began confronting officers by screaming and yelling at them.
Witnesses also accused the officer of being the aggressor in the deadly incident.
According to FOX 11's Bill Melugin, a protest is planned for Friday evening.
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Officials have not released the name of the officer who was involved but did confirm he was wearing a body camera.
Following an investigation, SBPD said body camera footage showed the responding officer identifying himself and ordering Bender to show his hands. SBPD said in a press release that Bender "clearly ignored the officer and walked away from him, saying he was going to the store."
SBPD added Bender was uncooperative and was difficult for the officer to subdue prior to the deadly shooting. SBPD said in a press release that the officer used a department-issued handgun to shoot Bender multiple times.
Anyone with any information is being asked to contact Detective A. Reyna at 909-384-5628 or Sgt. A. Tello at 909-384-4955.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.