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Protesters storm Anaheim police station in wake of fatal shooting

A group of protesters stormed the lobby of the Anaheim police station Sunday, about half an hour before Police Chief John Welter was scheduled to reveal more details about a fatal officer-involved shooting the night before that sparked a confrontation between an angry crowd and investigators.

Chanting "No justice, no peace" and holding signs that read "Justice for Manuel," a group gathered outside the department at noon, the Orange County Register reported. About an hour later, they were in the lobby.

The group was outside again by about 1:40 p.m., the newspaper reported. It was not immediately clear if the chief's media-only news conference -- originally scheduled for 1:30 -- would still take place.

Tensions were high after Saturday's shooting, which resulted in the death of a man identified by family as Manuel Diaz, the newspaper reported. Authorities have not confirmed the victim's identity.

Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn told The Times the incident began Saturday when two patrol officers tried to approach three men in an alley in the 600 block of North Anna Drive about 4 p.m.

It was unclear why the officers first approached the men, but Dunn said they gave chase and one of the officers followed one of the men to the front of an apartment complex in the 700 block of North Anna, where the shooting occurred about 4 p.m.

The man was taken to a hospital, where he died about 7 p.m., authorities said.

Police remained at the scene to investigate the shooting, Dunn said, and were encircled by a group of people who began throwing things, including bottles and possibly rocks, at the officers. At one point, the crowd also pushed a dumpster holding burning trash toward police, reports said.

Officers used non-lethal rounds and pepper balls to control the crowd, Dunn said. A police dog also got free from an officer's car and charged at several people before it was pulled back, he added.

Dunn said more details about the incident — including a tally of those detained or injured — would be available at the Sunday news conference.

Last month, city officials announced that an independent review would be conducted into what were described as "major police incidents," the Register reported. The inquiry came on the heels of weekly protests outside the police station, led by relatives of those killed in officer-involved shootings.

Before Saturday's incident, the most two recent fatal shootings involving Anaheim police were in January, the newspaper said.

The Anaheim police "are not judge, jury and executioner," Theresa Smith, whose son was fatally shot by Anaheim police in 2009, told the newspaper before Sunday's protest. "Nobody is given their due process, and it just seems like everything has gotten out of hand."

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— Kate Mather and Ari Bloomekatz

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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