Authorities release footage of fatal police shooting

Authorities release footage of fatal police shooting

NEWARK — Authorities on Friday night released body-worn camera footage of a fatal police shooting last month in Newark.

The shooting occurred April 13 around 4:45 p.m. in the 39000 block of Cedar Boulevard.

The footage, which was released by the Newark and Fremont police departments, shows officers confronting Elmer Lopez-Castaneda, 19, of Newark, as he and another person sit in a Mercedes-Benz sedan backed into a parking space. At the time, Lopez-Castaneda was wanted in connection with an armed carjacking earlier this year in Newark.

An officer orders the driver, Lopez-Castaneda, to step out of the car with his hands up, which he does, the footage shows. Lopez-Castaneda is told to keep his hands up and walk toward the officer but is then instructed to turn around. Officers spot what appears to be a gun in Lopez-Castaneda’s waistband and order him to get on the ground.

The gun turned out to be a full metal replica of a Beretta M9 pistol, according to police.

The footage shows Lopez-Castaneda moving his left arm down to his waistband and grabbing the replica pistol. In response, one Newark police detective and three Fremont police detectives fire their service weapons at Lopez-Castaneda. Three Fremont police officers also fired less-lethal weapons, including a 40mm launcher, police said.

The replica pistol flies out of Lopez-Castaneda’s hand, hits the hood of the Mercedes-Benz and lands on the ground, the footage shows. Lopez-Castaneda also falls to the ground, where police said officers attended to him until paramedics arrived.

The sequence of events in which Lopez-Castaneda grabbed the replica pistol, the officers fired their shots and the replica pistol hit the ground took roughly two seconds.

Lopez-Castaneda was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger was taken to an area hospital with injuries police described as not life-threatening. Police said the passenger was not hit by gunfire.

The four officers who fired their service weapons were identified last month as Newark police Agent Trevor Damewood, Fremont police Detective Anthony Piol, Fremont police Detective Jesse Hartman and Fremont police Agent Thomas Degenstein.

In addition to the body-worn camera footage, police released surveillance footage of the carjacking, which occurred Feb. 14 in the 5700 block of Thornton Avenue. The footage shows a person dressed in black walking up to the front driver-side door of the same Mercedes-Benz and another person jumping out of the front passenger-side door.

A recording of a 911 call was included with the surveillance footage. In the call, a man says his car was just stolen and that the suspect threatened his son with a knife.

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