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Attorney says Long Beach officers fired at man holding nozzle without reassessment

December 17, 2010 |  8:49 am

Zerby An attorney for the family of a man shot to death by Long Beach police as he held a pistol-grip hose nozzle claims the two officers hit Doug Zerby numerous times with fire from a handgun and shotgun and failed to re-survey the situation after the first few shots.

The allegations are among the findings Brian Claypool said he will present at a news conference Friday based on his initial investigation into Sunday's shooting of Zerby, 35, outside an Ocean Boulevard apartment.

Zerby’s family said it  plans to sue the Long Beach Police Department.

Claypool said Zerby was shot multiple times as one officer unloaded his handgun and another fired his shotgun two or three times. Initial findings from Claypool's investigation shows the officers failed to reassess the situation, which is usually required after initial shots are fired, he said.

Zerby had been sitting on the stoop of a friend's house waiting for the friend to return. He often visited the apartment after drinking and was known to neighbors, his sister said.

A new tenant unfamiliar with Zerby called 911 Sunday to report an intoxicated man holding a gun in the upscale Belmont Shore neighborhood.

According to police, two officers responded and took cover, waiting for backup. But before additional officers could get in position, Zerby clutched the handle of a nozzle shaped like a pistol and extended and pointed his arms toward an officer, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said earlier this week.

Fearing for their safety, officers opened fire, McDonnell said.

Zerby died at the scene after being handcuffed.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Doug Zerby and then-fiancee Tina in an undated picture. Credit: Family handout / Associated Press