The Sacramento County Sheriff Department said that Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old black man shot and killed Sunday by law enforcement, had been holding a cellphone and not a “tool bar,” according to The Sacramento Bee.
Police said they thought Clark had a gun when he “extended in front of him” an “object.”
“The only thing that I heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got to the ground,” Clark’s grandmother told the Bee.
Clark was in the backyard of the home he shared with his grandparents and some of his siblings when police shot him, Clark’s brother told the Bee.
The police department said officers were responding to a tip about an individual smashing car windows nearby.
The suspect was described by police as a 6-foot-1 man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants hiding in a backyard.
According to the Daily News:
Deputies told police the suspect had used a “toolbar” to break another home’s window. Deputies in a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department helicopter spotted Clark in a backyard, and told deputies he had shattered a window with a tool bar.
Deputies instructed officers on the ground to the man’s location.
Police approached Clark, who they initially believed was armed with a gun, though no firearm was recovered from the scene, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them. Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times,” the police department said in a release. Clark was pronounced dead at the scene.
Clark’s grandmother said that neither she nor her husband heard police issue commands before hearing gunfire.