Residents gathered at James Madison Elementary in Anaheim, California on Wednesday night seeking answers about a lethal police shooting that occurred on Saturday. The violence Saturday that led to the death of Danny Rendon appears to mark the second killing of an unarmed man by an Anaheim police officer this month. 22-year-old Gustavo Najera, whose death was caught on an unidentified officer’s body cam, was shot and killed by an officer in an apartment building on February 9.
According to Anaheim police chief Raul Quezada, the first calls to 911 began when two people on the 900 block of South Roberts Street were shot at by a 30-year-old man. Neither of these people, strangers to the suspect, were injured.
However, the gunman didn’t stop there and began to drive to drive away from the street with the gun still in his hand. Residents called 911 to report seeing a man driving with a gun and one said they heard him fire off a shot.
Police caught up to the suspect, Danny Rendon, on the 2000 block of West Cris Avenue. When they found him he had just shot and wounded his brother-in-law in the leg outside of his estranged wife’s residence. Authorities say he fired his weapon once at the police helicopter, which was circling above the scene.
Cell phone evidence seems to corroborate witness reports that three police officers shouted commands at Rendon, who dropped his weapon but, as the cops later described it, was not complying with other requests. Around 4:45 PM the three officers fired repeatedly at Rendon, immediately killing him.
The suspect’s victim was transported to the local hospital in stable condition with a gunshot wound in his leg. No officers were harmed. A firearm was found on the ground near Rendon’s body.
Suspect possibly shot at police helicopter. Armed suspect refused to comply and was shot. Firearm recovered at scene.
— Anaheim PD (@AnaheimPD) February 21, 2016
That evening, an ABC7 reporter stated that witnesses had seen Rendon throw his gun to the side and released cell phone video that seems to show that Rendon was unarmed as officers fire multiple rounds into him. The video cuts off before the first bullet is fired to protect the television audience.
The officers have since been put on paid administrative leave while an investigation is carried out. Body cam footage has been recovered.
According to the Anaheim Police Department, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will conduct the investigation with homicide detectives from the Anaheim Police Department. The Anaheim Police Department’s Major Incident Review Team (MIRT) and the Office of Independent Review (OIR) will both conduct administrative investigations.
OC Weekly reported on the police chief’s efforts to minimize concern over Rendon being unarmed:
At the calm community meeting, chief Quezada played a CBS2 report on the shooting (but not the ABC7 clip with the cellphone footage) and further recounted the series of events. “The suspect complies and drops the handgun,” he said at one point. “Why was he shot after he dropped the gun?” a woman later asked from the audience. “That’s the part I can’t go into,” the chief responded, citing the ongoing investigation. He only vaguely alluded to other things happening after Rendon dropping his weapon that caused officers to fire.