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ABC Eyewitness News
A call from a 17-year old southern California girl’s father after she was fatally shot by police served as a heartbreaking postscript to body camera video showing the teen’s final moments, during which she was shot after appearing to aim a gun at a responding officer.
Fullerton police released the body camera footage of the shooting of high school senior Hannah Williams on Friday, and other new details about the incident, which occurred about a mile from the girl’s home.
“In an effort to be transparent with the community that we serve, the Fullerton Police Department is releasing its second Critical Incident Community Briefing, which will provide details to the community about the incident, as we know them today,” according to a Fullerton Police statement. This includes Body Worn Camera (BWC) video footage from the incident itself, still photos, radio traffic, and a 9-1-1 call for service,”
“Please keep in mind this is an initial review, and our understanding of this incident could possibly change as additional evidence is collected, analyzed, and reviewed,” the statement said. “While body worn cameras are an excellent investigative tool, they do not always show what the officers may have seen, and vice versa, the officers don’t always see and experience what the body camera footage shows.”
Just after 7 p.m. on July 5, Flynn attempted what was initially a traffic stop in Anaheim in Orange County, after a black rental SUV sped by with Williams at the wheel, according to a videotaped statement by Fullerton Police Lt. Jon Radus introducing the footage.
The driver of the black SUV seemed to intentionally drive into the police car, before an attempting a U-turn into oncoming traffic, Radus said.
The video shows Williams being apprehended by police and getting out of the SUV and appearing to point a gun at the officers. Police later recovered a BB gun designed to look like a Beretta 92 FS handgun at the scene next to Williams, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
In the scenes that follow, Williams is seen laying on the ground crying for help and moaning and repeating, “I can’t breathe.” Asked where she was hit, she responds, “my chest.”
Police, including an Los Angeles Police Department officer are also seen attending to the injured girl, discussing cutting off her shirt and applying seals to her chest and tying a tourniquet to her injured leg. Later she is heard coughing as police note that she is “going to gag.”
Fullerton Police also released the 911 call placed by Benson Williams, Hannah’s father, who, not knowing about the shooting, phoned to report her as missing about 90 minutes after the incident occurred. The girl’s father told the dispatcher that she had driven off with the rental car and was on antidepressants.
Asked if he was concerned she may want to harm herself, he replied, “I am.”
Asked if Hannah had ever mentioned hurting herself, Williams answered, “No ma’am…But like I said, she is on medication right now” and said “it’s just you know out of the blue.. she’s never done this.”
Asked if she was “white, black, Asian or Hispanic,” Williams responded, “white.”
Before Fullerton Police released the video publicly Police Chief Robert Dunn and Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer met with the Williams’ family to offer them the chance to view the video before it was released publicly, the police statement said.
As a press conference on Friday, S. Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who’s been assisting Williams’ family, told reporters he viewed the video on behalf of the Williams’ family, who did not want to watch it.
The Williams’ family spoke with the district attorney and wants a full and through investigation into Hannah’s shooting, Merritt said. He added that the family hoped that law enforcement would come up with better procedures in Hannah’s name and memory.