Pasadena police arrest 911 caller in student's killing
The investigation into a controversial killing of a college student by a Pasadena police officer last weekend took a dramatic twist Wednesday when police arrested a 911 caller who set the chain of events into motion, accusing him of lying.
The officer shot 19-year-old Kendrec McDade from the driver’s seat of a police cruiser in a narrow alley in the city’s Northeast district about 11 p.m. on Saturday. Police were chasing two robbery suspects. They were dispatched to the scene after a man called 911 claiming that the pair were armed and stole his laptop computer.
But on Wednesday, police officials said they concluded that the man lied to police about the gun and that detectives now believe neither McDade or the other person were armed.
The caller, who was not identified, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, with police saying his call led to the fatal shooting.
“The actions of 911 caller set the minds of officers” that McDade was armed, Pasadena Police Chief Philip Sanchez said at a press conference.
In a detailed description of the shooting, Pasadena Lt. Phlunte Riddle said the officer used the cruiser to block McDade’s path.
The officer, who was sitting on the driver’s side, rolled down his window and shot McDade after the teenager allegedly made a motion at his waistband, Riddle said.
“It was close range… less than 10 feet,” she added. A second officer, who was chasing McDade on foot, also opened fire, “fearing for the other officer's safety,” Riddle said.
McDade, a football standout at Azusa High School who attended Citrus College, died of his injuries at Huntington Hospital. Police spent the next two days looking extensively for a gun and the stolen laptop computer but without success.
--Richard Winton and Adolfo Flores
Image: Map shows location of Wednesday's shooting in purple, as well as 23 other homicides (in red) since January 2007. Credit: Homicide Report