A San Bernadino man is dead after police officers responded to a call at around 11:15 pm about an armed man jumping on cars outside a liquor store.
According to the San Bernadino Sun, Mark Matthew Bender Jr., 35, of San Bernardino, died after he was shot multiple times. No one else was injured, San Bernardino police Sgt. John Echevarria said.
A woman called police around 11:15 p.m., reporting a Black man who had been drinking. She described him as wearing a white shirt and black shorts and “waving around a gun”. She described him as Black man, with a white shirt and black shorts.
In their statement, police said officers responded to a call of a man with a gun who was jumping on cars outside of the King Tut liquor store on Baseline Street near Waterman Avenue. When the responding officer arrived, he says he contacted Bender and gave commands that he did not follow, and then Bender tried to go into the store, which had people inside, the statement said.
The officer tried to restrain Bender and there was a struggle, police said.
“The suspect was able to physically overpower the officer and retrieved a weapon from his pocket, and was turning to face the officer,” the statement said. “At this time, an officer-involved shooting occurred. The officer discharged his duty weapon four times and the suspect was struck multiple times.”
San Bernardino police released body camera footage of the incident and the 911 call on Friday afternoon.
The body camera footage shows the officer approaching Bender. The officer pulls out his gun and says “let me see your hands.” As Bender walks toward the store, the officer tries to restrain him and Bender says “don’t touch me.”
The body camera footage goes dark during the struggle, but audio from the recording continues and the officer can be heard saying, “Stop fighting,” before shots ring out.
A separate video of the incident shows the officer taking Bender down from behind, but Bender stands back up. As he gets up with his back turned away from the officer, he has what looks like a black gun in his right hand as he appears to turn to face the officer.
The officer then pulls out his weapon and fires at Bender.
Authorities say the officer fired four shots at Bender at close range, killing him.
Friday evening several dozen people protested peacefully at the location of the shooting, 279 Baseline Street.
Police say a black loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun was found at the scene. Bender was an ex-felon and was not legally allowed to possess a firearm in the state, according to police.
We hate to assume the worst, but it seems pretty likely that the gun — and Bender’s criminal record — which is pretty extensive (charges include attempted murder, domestic violence, false imprisonment and various drug charges) and has already been published, will all be used to justify the officer’s actions.