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Angry Anaheim crowd threw bottles at police, set fires on streets

July 22, 2012 |  8:35 am

Anaheim police were investigating a violent melee Saturday night between police officers and an angry crowd.

Authorities said the crowd threw bottles and set fires at an intersection, and police used non-lethal force to disperse them.

Sgt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department said the incident started when two patrol officers tried to approach three men in an alley about 4 p.m. in the 600 block of North Anna Drive and the men fled.

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 Drive where the officer-involved shooting occurred.

The man who was shot has not been identified and was pronounced dead at 7 p.m., authorities said.

After the shooting, and while police were investigating the incident, Dunn said a group of people encircled the officers and began throwing things, including bottles and possibly rocks, at them.

Police used non-lethal rounds and pepper balls on the crowd, Dunn said, and at least one person was detained.

One harrowing moment was when a police dog somehow got free from an officer's car and went at several people. Dunn said it was unclear if anyone had been bitten or injured. 

"The officer was quickly able to get the dog back into the vehicle," Dunn said.

Police were called back to the area later in the evening because a group had blocked the intersection of North Anna Drive and La Palma Avenue with trashcans.

"We’ve been called back to the intersection because they’ve blocked the roadway and lit several fires there," he said.

Residents said they are demanding answers from the Anaheim police chief about the shooting.

"We were all waiting for him to come and talk to the community and give us an explanation. Why kill this man?" resident Yesenia Rojas told the Orange County Register, which also reported that some in the crowd said they were hurt by an escaped police dog.


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-- Ari Bloomekatz

Video: KTLA News