Shots were fired near Oceanside harbor Monday in a deadly altercation involving a police officer called to investigate a man sleeping on a bench. Officials say the so-called "sleeper" was armed with a handgun and the police officer fired his weapon because he felt threatened.
Aerial video shows clothing, shoes and blood stains on the sidewalk in front of a business on North Harbor Drive, west of Interstate 5.
Lt. Leonard Cosby said Oceanside police got a call about a “sleeper” outside the Breakwater Yacht Ltd office just after 9 a.m.
Cosby said residents called reporting a suspicious person in the area.
There was some sort of interaction between the man and the police officer, who has been with the department for 15 years according to Cosby.
After initial contact with the suspect, the officer says the man turned to either sit or stand at which point the officer saw a gun in the suspect's waistband, officials said.
Investigators said that when the suspect reached for the gun, the officer fired his weapon striking the suspect at least three times.
Officials said the police officer opened fire, believing his life was threatened.
Directly after, Cosby said the officer and others started lifesaving efforts.
The man was transported by ambulance to a medical helicopter and was flown to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Officials have not released the man's name but told NBC 7 he was a documented gang member from San Pedro who was in his 20s. His identity will be released once his family is notified.
Cosby said investigators believe the man was on probation although he did not have any outstanding warrants against him.
Given the location and the time of day there were many witnesses to the shooting. Some report hearing three to five gunshots. None saw the incident.
One witness contacted NBC 7 saying he was in a nearby office building when he heard multiple shots. He went to a balcony to check out the noise and saw an officer pointing a gun.
British tourist Linda Clark is visiting Oceanside on vacation. She was sitting on a balcony overlooking the harbor.
"Then we heard the volley of shots," Clark said. "Everyone just came very quickly. The police response was very quick."
Cell phone video obtained by NBC 7 shows emergency personnel attending to a man lying on the ground near the scene of the shooting.
Officials originally said they could not answer if the man fatally injured in the shooting made a threatening move before shots were fired.
A 9mm handgun was found at the scene; however the suspect never fired his weapon, officials said.
The bench is located on a sidewalk outside a business several yards from the marina's edge.
There is a gated area a few feet away that leads to an area where boats are docked.
The officer involved in the shooting has not been identified. He has been placed on administrative leave, according to Cosby.
Check back for updates on this developing story.