SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - San Antonio’s police chief on Friday pledged a thorough investigation of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by an officer a day earlier.
Antronie Scott, 36, wanted on warrants for being a felon in possession in a firearm, was spotted on Thursday night by undercover detectives and pulled over by a uniformed officer as he drove into an apartment complex.
“As the uniformed officer approached the vehicle, he got out of the car quickly and spun toward the officer,” Chief William McManus told a news conference.
“The officer shouted to ‘show me your hands,’ and as soon as that statement was made, you heard a gunshot and it hit the individual in the upper torso,” he said.
McManus said the officer, identified as John Lee, a 10-year veteran of the force, told him he thought there was a gun in Scott’s hand. But that object turned out to be a cell phone.
“Officer Lee stated that he feared for his life when he discharged a single round,” the chief said.
The chief said video from the officer’s onboard camera did not record the shooting because of the way the officer’s car was parked, and body cameras have not yet been distributed to Lee’s precinct. There is audio of the incident.
Protesters have said the shooting was unwarranted and similar to numerous other incidents in recent months that have raised questions about racial bias in U.S. policing in which unarmed African-Americans were fatally shot by officers.
The officer in the shooting has been placed on administrative duty, as per department procedures.
“It was very fast, it was in the blink of an eye,” McManus said.
Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Dan Grebler