Toward the end of Saturday’s U.S. Open Surfing event, Huntington Beach Police received a call around 3:15 p.m. about a “suspicious man with a gun.” Officers responded to the area and located the man.
According to police officials, officers surrounded the man, later identified as 43-year-old Ronnie Garcia. Large crowds were gathered close by for the surfing competition. Officers gave Garcia multiple commands. He did not comply with any of them, and one or more officers fired at him. ‘
A bystander captured cell phone video of the incident. In the video, you can see Garcia raise his arm and point it toward the officers, which is when the officers fired their weapons.
Garcia fell to the sand and was rolling around. Though seemingly injured, he suddenly makes a grab for the shirt that was on the ground next to him. The police officers say that the handgun Garcia was carrying was under the t-shirt. The officer’s fire at Garcia again.
In the video, the officers stopped firing when Garcia did not get up. Garcia was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. According to KCAL, he died from his injuries at the hospital.
Many of the witnesses at the beach were surprised by the shooting. Rhonda Davidson and her family come to the beach often and say they have never seen anything like this before.
“It was just scary to see the cops, like, kinda pointing their guns at someone – pop, pop, pop, pop – more like 10 or 11 shots.”Rhonda Davidson
Chet Davidson said, “It was pretty surreal. We were right over there in the grass area. We heard the shots fired [and] wasn’t too sure, but everybody was running, everybody was running away from it.”
Rhonda Davidson reiterated that they had been coming to the beach “for years in the summer,” and nothing “happens ever.”
“I’m not scared,” Rhonda Davison added. “I mean, obviously, I’m here, but I’m glad there’s police presence.”
Since it is an officer-involved shooting, Orange County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation. The shooting immediately prompted a response from activists who began to protest.
It even brought out the Black Lives Matter- Huntington Beach founder Tory Johnson, who believes the officers involved in shooting Garcia should be accountable for their actions.
According to KCAL, officers found a gun at the scene.