While it’s unclear whether Newark police, Fremont police, or an Alameda County officer fired the fatal shot in a suspected East Bay carjacking last week, the state attorney general took up an investigation of the police shooting the day after it happened.
It should come as no surprise, nor as a presumption of any guilt or wrongdoing, that state attorney general Rob Bonta is investigating a fatal police shooting in Newark last Thursday that killed one suspect and left another hospitalized. By law, that office investigates all police shootings these days. But in this case, according to a statement from Newark police, “On Thursday, April 13, 2023, at approximately 3:20 p.m., Newark Police were alerted by community safety cameras that a carjacking suspect vehicle entered the City of Newark on Mowry Avenue.” They note that officers from several departments “arrived on scene and a high-risk stop was conducted. During the encounter, an officer involved shooting occurred.”
In response to questions from the community, we want to share additional information about the OIS. The carjacking suspect was in possession of a full metal airsoft pistol designed to look like a Beretta M9, which is pictured below. https://t.co/cVZ8oYhkYv pic.twitter.com/YolTG1hmlf— Newark Police Department (@NewarkCA_Police) April 15, 2023
That’s all fairly vague (and stated passively). But the next day, Newark police issued an update saying, “The carjacking suspect was in possession of a full metal airsoft pistol designed to look like a Beretta M9.” Yet also on the next day, as the Chronicle reports, state attorney general Rob Bonta opened an investigation into the shooting.
What complicates matters is that there were three separate law enforcement agencies involved, and it is yet undetermined which department’s office fired the shot that that killed the suspect. The Chronicle reports the incident “involved officers from the Newark and Fremont police departments and the Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force,” but that “Officials have not said which department was responsible for the fatal shot.” The Chron adds that “Police statements have not named the officers involved or said how the shooting unfolded and what led to the fatal discharge.”
Again, this investigation should not come as a surprise, nor a sign of police misconduct. A 2021 law called AB 1506 requires that the AG’s office “investigate all incidents of an officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian in the state.” Certainly law enforcement has pushed back that “the carjacking suspect was in possession of a full metal airsoft pistol,” though there were two suspects here, and we don’t know whether one of them may have been unarmed.
While one suspect is dead and another is detained in hospital, the incident remains under investigation. The Newark Police Department asks anyone with any information regarding this investigation should contact Investigations Sergeant Yama Homayoun at 510.578.4920 or [email protected]. Information can also be left anonymously on the tip hotline at 510.578.4965.
Image: @RobBonta via Twitter