A 23-year-old Black man was fatally shot by a Southern California police officer after he got impeded by a building while he was attempting to flee, officials said. Authorities identified the deceased Black man as Rob Marquise Adams.
Responding to the fatal encounter in a video statement on Tuesday, San Bernardino Police Chief Darren Goodman said that two police officers went to the parking lot of a business after authorities received reports of an armed man in that area, NBC News reported. The officers, who were in their uniforms, were said to be in an unmarked vehicle.
Goodman said Adams was in possession of a gun when the officers responded to the scene, adding that the deceased 23-year-old man started heading towards a car after the officers arrived.
But Adams’ mother, Tamika King, claimed his son was rather holding a cellphone – not a gun. King also said she was on the phone with Adams before his encounter with the police officers. She added that Adams’ friend had bought a new car, and her son could be seen celebrating the purchase in the footage.
“He just got a new car, they both have twin BMWs,” King told the press. “You can see my son dancing because he didn’t know what was going on, he was dancing. And I was on the phone and all I heard after that was gun shots. He never told me goodbye. He never told me goodbye.”
The San Bernardino Police Department released an edited video of the incident. In the footage, two men are seen standing in the parking lot. Goodman claimed one of the men displayed a gun in his waistband as the officers in the unmarked vehicle arrived.
“The officers exited their vehicle and gave Adams verbal commands, but he immediately ran toward two parked vehicles with the gun in his right hand. Officers briefly chased Adams, but seeing that he had no outlet, they believed he intended to use the vehicles as cover to shoot at them,” Gooodman said.
“Fearing that bystanders’ or the officers’ lives were in danger, one of the officers fired his gun, striking Adams.”
Following the shooting, Goodman said the officers rendered Adams medical aid. He later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. But Chris O’Neal, who is one of the family’s lawyers, disputed the claim that Adams received help shortly after he was shot, NBC News reported.
“This man was running away and was shot in the back multiple times,” said O’Neal. “He was not given the decency and courtesy of emergency medical care in a timely fashion.”
Goodman said police recovered a gun at the scene, adding that the man Adams was with was detained and later released.
Goodman said Adams was named as a person of interest in an armed robbery that previously happened at the scene of the incident. He said Adams “was on felony probation for armed robbery, and had felony warrants for assault with a deadly weapon, possession of stolen property, and robbery.”
The San Bernardino Police Department and the San Bernardino District Attorney’s office have launched separate investigations into Adams’ shooting death.