La Mesa Police Department

Family of Woman Shot By Bean Bag Round Demands Answers From La Mesa Police

In graphic video shared with NBC 7, Leslie Furcron lay unconscious on the ground as members of the crowd came to her aid

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Family members on Wednesday demanded answers from the La Mesa Police Department about an incident during a protest on Saturday that left their 59-year-old mother in a medically-induced coma.

The calls came during a City of La Mesa press conference, where the mayor and police chief were scheduled to address an arrest of a black man that went viral amid calls for police accountability in response to the death of George Floyd.

Both incidents sparked a large demonstration outside La Mesa Police Department Headquarters on Saturday. Leslie Furcron was among demonstrators when unrest began between the group of protesters and the line of armored police officers surrounding the building.

According to LMPD, some people in the crowd began throwing water bottles and other objects at officers, prompting them to respond with tear gas and "less lethal" projectiles, causing one -- a bean bag round -- to hit Leslie Furcron in the forehead.

In graphic video shared with NBC 7, Leslie Furcron lay unconscious on the ground as members of the crowd came to her aid.

Tasha Williamson responds to a question during a La Mesa briefing.

NBC 7 Investigates obtained La Mesa police training documents that show bean bag ammunition weigh 40 grams and travel at 200 to 300 feet per second. A shot placement diagram shows the upper torso and head as "potentially lethal" areas.

According to demonstrators, it wasn't until Furcron was shot that members of the crowd became unruly.

"The carnage that we witnessed in La Mesa occurred after, after an elderly woman, 59 years old, was almost killed,” the family's attorney Dante Pride said as he criticized LMPD Chief Vasquez for deflecting questions from the crowd on Wednesday.

"Why didn’t you help, Leslie? Why didn’t you help her? She got shot and I begged for you guys to help her. I went up to 20 police officers and said, ‘Help Leslie. She’s bleeding. She’s on the ground.’ You guys didn’t listen at all. You refused to help her. Why didn’t you help her?" a crowd member shouted.

"I understand, again with the bean bag round, that incident is under review at this time to understand exactly what occurred,” Vasquez said.

NBC 7's Melissa Adan spoke with community members who were vocal at a press briefing with La Mesa police.

Leslie Furcron's two sons, Azim Sanders and Ahmad Furcron, called for Chief Vasquez to release the name of the officer who fired the projectile and for any body camera footage of the incident to be released.

"My mom is 59 years old. She didn’t break no laws. She wasn't being violent or nothing," Ahmad Furcron said. "We want answers she was shot between the eyes."

It was not clear if LMPD knew the name of the officer involved or if the officer had been placed on administrative leave. The LMPD has not responded to questions on the matter from NBC 7.

The family's attorney shared some good news at the press conference Wednesday. Leslie Furcron was taken out of a medically-induced coma and her family expected her to be talking by the evening.

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