New video shows suspect slugging Huntington Beach officer before fatal shooting

A new bystander video of a fatal police shooting at a Huntington Beach convenience store shows the suspect approaching the officer aggressively and then throwing at least one punch before the pair begin to wrestle and the lawman resorts to lethal force.

The 96-second video, which appears to have been shot from inside a car outside a 7-Eleven, surfaced over the weekend and was posted to Twitter. The video shows a young man with long, dark hair moving quickly toward an officer who has a weapon drawn and pointed at the young man’s chest.

The weapon — which police said was a Taser stun gun — does little to deter the suspect’s advance. As the officer continues to hold the weapon in his right hand, he backpedals rapidly and speaks into a radio he holds with his left hand.

The video then shows the suspect reaching out and punching the officer at least once before the officer attempts to throw a headlock on the man.

Warning: The following video contains graphic content.

In the new video – and in a previous video released on Friday afternoon that also contains graphic content – the pair fall to the ground wrestling. As the men grapple, the suspect pulls an object from the officer’s utility belt — possibly a magazine of ammunition. The officer then pushes away from the suspect and begins firing.

Both videos capture the sound of six gunshots fired in close succession and the officer yelling, “Get down.” After a final, seventh gunshot, the man collapses to the ground. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Orange County officials identified the man as Dillan Tabares, 27, of Huntington Beach.

The deadly encounter occurred about 9:30 a.m. Friday, when the officer contacted Tabares at the 7-Eleven at 6012 Edinger Ave. and the two got into an altercation, said police spokeswoman Officer Angie Bennett.

Police Chief Robert Handy told reporters at the shooting scene Friday evening that the man wouldn’t obey any of the officer’s commands. As the incident escalated and became violent, the officer used his Taser, but it wasn’t effective, Handy said.

According to Tabares’ mother, Tiffany Tabares, her son was a Navy veteran who suffered from mental illness. He left the U.S. military after losing his secret clearance over using marijuana, according to his Facebook account. Naval records show he served as an information systems technician on the Anzio guided missile cruiser

In March, Tabares was convicted of felony battery with serious bodily injury in Orange County Superior Court. That conviction stemmed from a 2016 incident, according to court records. Prosecutors had also charged him with trespassing, but later dismissed that charge as part of a plea agreement.

Tabares’ mother said she prays for him and the officer.

“I think mistakes were made but I don’t think my kid needed to be shot seven times,” Tiffany Tabares said, speaking at a vigil for her son Sunday night outside the 7-Eleven.

“I don’t know what happened in the very beginning,” she said. “I wish I had full video of everything that happened, as painful as it is to watch. I just want to know what happened. I want to know what the truth is. I don’t have an agenda of, you know, ‘Cops are horrible.’ I respect them, I appreciate them.”

Tiffany Tabares said she worried about what effect the shooting had on the officer.

“I truly, truly hope that the officer isn’t horrified by what he did … I don’t know you can go through something like that and not have it be extremely traumatic for him,” she said.

There have been seven shootings by Huntington Beach police in 2017. Earlier this month, two Huntington Beach police officers were injured by their own gunfire as they confronted a knife-wielding man.

The shooting comes at a time of tension within the city’s police department. Last month, the officers’ union announced that its members had overwhelmingly approved a no-confidence vote in the police chief. Handy, who has lead the department since 2013, began equipping officers with body cameras last year, despite opposition from members of the police union board.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

Staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

ALSO

Gunman barricades himself in Rancho Palos Verdes yard after family disturbance

One inmate is killed and several injured in prison riot near San Luis Obispo

Three people stabbed in Hawthorne, including two outside a church carnival


UPDATES:

12:45 p.m.: This article was updated with the suspect’s identity and comments from his mother.

This article was originally published at 9:05 a.m.

Copyright © 2017, The Virginia Gazette
50°