California cops offered a typical bumbling explanation after video showed them execute a suicidal man holding a knife to his own throat: The man ‘lunged’ at them.
But bystander cellphone video shows something else, entirely: Several Santa Maria police officers cower behind a patrol car, training their weapons on the man, when — following a half hour of failed negotiations — they abruptly open fire, hitting him multiple times as he falls to the ground.
Javier Garcia Gaona, according to family members quoted by local station KSBY days after the July 20 shooting, did not struggle with mental illness.
“He never had problems with anyone,” said brother Armando Garcia. “We were always together and I never saw him offend other people. Plus, he has always lived with my dad; he was never out there on the streets like people say.”
A friend echoed denial of possible psychological issues, saying Gaona had been upset about money he was owed.
“He was just very upset that he didn’t get the money that he needed,” explained friend Adan Partida, who spoke with Gaona shortly before the shooting, according to the Santa Maria Sun.
Santa Maria police had employed the ‘lunging’ narrative until the bystander’s video surfaced online, and though the moment immediately prior to cops opening fire is slightly obscured in the footage, witnesses can be overheard immediately calling the shooting an act of murder.
“You guys are a bunch of assholes! You tell me you can’t get the guy without shooting him?! Murderers! You guys are a bunch of murderers!” an enraged man screams at the police from across the street, repeatedly.