Vallejo Police Release Video of Deadly Shooting, Say Man Reached for Gun Before Officers Fired

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A screen capture from body-camera footage released Friday by the Vallejo Police Department of the deadly shooting of Willie McCoy on Feb. 9, 2019. (Via Vallejo Police Department)

The Vallejo Police Department released body-camera videos Friday of a fatal shooting last month in a Taco Bell drive-thru by six city police officers.

The Feb. 9 death of 20-year-old Willie McCoy has renewed criticism of the department, which has a high rate of police shootings. Officers responded to a 911 call from a Taco Bell employee after 10:30 p.m. and discovered McCoy unconscious in the driver's seat of his running car, parked in the drive-thru lane, with a semi-automatic handgun in his lap.

"The Vallejo Police Department wants to address the questions that have been raised to help the public digest both the media reports and to facilitate a community dialogue about the facts of this incident," a written statement accompanying the videos' release says. "Our hope is that this information helps members of the public separate fact from fiction regarding this incident."

An overview video released by the Police Department contains footage from each officer's camera, a synced split screen from all six shooting officers' video, and one perspective of the critical few seconds before officers fired, played in slow motion. The video states that McCoy reached for the gun in his lap moments before officers launched a hail of gunfire.

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While McCoy's left hand can be seen moving forward as he bends at the waist, it's unclear from the video whether he was reaching for the gun.

Police have said a semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine was recovered from the car.

John Burris, a civil rights attorney who plans to file a lawsuit against the Police Department on behalf of McCoy's family, saw the videos for the first time on Friday.

"It was pretty shocking to see the young man being just slaughtered," Burris said, adding that McCoy, on the video, did not seem to be a threat to the officers.

"We did not see any aggressive movements. We did not hear any statements from him," Burris said.

Burris said he plans to have experts view the footage.

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"The police put forth almost like a movie presentation of this, and that obviously raises questions," he said.

McCoy, who went by the name Willie Bo, was reportedly a "giver," "leader" and up-and-coming rap artist in the Bay Area.

He may have also been linked to violent crime.

McCoy was arrested in April 2018 in San Francisco under suspicion of kidnapping a 19-year-old woman and driving her to Santa Clara County. Oakland police served a search warrant on McCoy's home, according to an San Francisco Police Department news release, and seized "numerous firearms."

A victim in the case later recanted, according to a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, and charges were dismissed. An investigation remained open at the time of McCoy's death, however.

The Vallejo Police Department identified the six officers who fired at McCoy as Ryan McMahon, Colin Eaton, Bryan Glick, Jordon Patzer, Anthony Romero-Cano and Mark Thompson. All of the officers have been cleared to return to duty since the shooting.

Autopsy and toxicology reports are pending. McCoy may have been shot more than 20 times, according to civil rights attorneys representing his family.