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2 officers placed on leave after fatal shooting in Anaheim

July 22, 2012 |  5:32 pm

Two Anaheim police officers have been placed on paid leave following the fatal shooting of a man that has outraged residents of the Orange County city.

Police Chief John Welter announced the move at a news conference Sunday, where he and Mayor Tom Tait promised a full investigation into the incident, according to the The Orange County Register. The Orange County district attorney's office is handling the inquiry, Welter said, but Tait said he would also ask the state attorney general's office to assist.

"I’m asking for a full investigation," Tait said, according to the newspaper. "Transparency is essential. Whatever the truth is, we will own it."

Tensions were high after Saturday's shooting, which resulted in the death of a man identified by family as 24-year-old 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.

Welter said at the news conference the officers saw a man leaning against a vehicle talking to two men and considered the activity "suspicious," the Register reported. The officers approached the vehicle, which drove off.

Police then chased the man on foot, who Welter said threw "unidentified objects onto rooftops as he ran," the newspaper said. What led to the shooting, which occurred about 4 p.m. in the 700 block of North Anna, was not revealed.

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 throughout the evening, 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.

The incident sparked outcry from residents already frustrated with a series of officer-involved shootings.

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.

Protesters descended upon the police station again Sunday, chanting "No justice, no peace" and holding signs that read "Justice for Manuel," the Orange County Register reported. At one point shortly before the news conference was scheduled to begin, a group stormed the lobby of the building.


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