Raleigh, NC – Police released bodycam video on Wednesday evening that clearly showed 26-year-old Javier Torres was pointing a gun at officers when he was shot on Tuesday (video below).
False narratives on social media that claimed Torres was an unarmed teenager led to Black Lives Matter protests and flag burning in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday night.
But Raleigh police moved quickly to release bodycam video from the officer-involved shooting that showed the suspect was in fact an armed adult male, The News & Observer reported.
The incident began at about 6:40 p.m. on March 10 when police responded to several 911 calls about a man with a gun in the 1000-block of N. Rogers Lane, according to a press release from the Raleigh Police Department.
“He’s flashing it around,” the caller told the dispatcher. “Not sure he’s using the gun, but he’s flashing.”
Another 911 caller told the dispatcher that he’d been threatened by the suspect in a restaurant, WRAL reported.
“I know your family. It’s done. It’s a wrap. You’re done,” he claimed the gunman said.
When officers arrived in the area, they spotted a man matching the suspect description given to 911.
Police said the suspect – later identified as Torres – fled at the sight of the officers.
The officers pursued Torres on foot, repeatedly ordering him to stop and drop his weapon, according to the police department.
Torres was shot once in the abdomen during the foot chase.
He was transported to a nearby hospital and was reportedly in “stable” condition, according to WRAL.
Bodycam video from the incident showed that when officers arrived on the scene, Torres was carrying a pizza box and had a handgun tucked in his waistband.
There was a foot pursuit involving multiple officers and one of the bodycams captured the exact moment that Torres rounded a corner toward the officer with a gun in his right hand pointed at the officer.
That officer opened fire and shot Torres, who fell to the ground a few feet later, the video showed.
Then officers rendered first aid to Torres until medics arrived.
Torres was transported to Wakeforest Medical Center for treatment and was in stable condition, according to The News & Observer reported.
The video showed officers found Torres’ handgun a short distance away from where he fell.
Torres was charged with altering or removing a gun’s serial number, going armed to the terror of the public, and resist, delay, and obstruct, The News & Observer reported.
Police did not release any information about the incident to the media until four hours after the shooting, and by that time, misinformation had spread like wildfire on social media claiming police had shot an unarmed juvenile holding a pizza rather than a gun-wielding adult.
A crowd of protesters went to the home of Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown first demanding answers, CBS News reported.
An even bigger crowd of people gathered in downtown Raleigh shortly before midnight and marched to the state capitol building, where they tore down the American flag.
From there, they marched to the governor’s mansion where they burned the stolen American flag and a North Carolina state flag, according to The News & Observer.
Protesters carried signs and chanted “No justice, no peace!” and “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “RPD is the KKK” as they blocked sidewalks and roads.
Chief Deck-Brown told reporters at a press conference at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning that people needed to wait for more information before rushing to judgement.
She clarified that the suspect was an armed adult male and not an unarmed teenager.
“As a result of the reckless and false information that has been spread on social media, a number of spontaneous protests occurred during the night, which caused minor damage to property in and around downtown Raleigh,” the chief said.
A judge quickly approved the release of the bodycam video and it was public by Wednesday evening.
“You will see the individual does have a pizza box, but he also has a gun,” Chief Deck-Brown explained when the footage was released, according to The News & Observer.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: