Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials have displayed photos and a video appearing to show a man holding a gun just before he was fatally shot Saturday by deputies in an incident that has generated debate about police use of force, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sheriff’s officials said that the man, Nicholas Robertson, 28, fired six to seven shots into the air on a residential street in Lynwood before walking into a bustling shopping district. He entered at least one business, “behaving erratically with gun in hand,” said Capt. Steve Katz of the sheriff’s homicide unit.
Katz said “public safety was critical here” because there were people on the street, including some at a gas station that Robertson was walking toward. Robertson at one point pointed the gun in the deputies’ direction and ignored their commands for him to drop the weapon, he said. The deputies opened fire, and in the video released Saturday, continued to shoot as Robertson was crawling. Authorities said he was continuing to hold the gun at that time. In all, one deputy fired 16 shots and the other fired 17. Katz said Robertson might have had some type of “domestic discord” with his spouse that prompted his actions but did not provide details. Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Robertson had “prior contact with the criminal justice system” but was not specific.