Police in Washington said they ordered Daniel Covarrubias to pull his hands out of his pocket because he was making them fear for their lives.
But when he did, they shot him anyway because they say he begin pointing a cell phone at them, “mimicking a gun,” according to Lakewood Police Chief Mark Zaro.
Not a single reporter in Monday’s press conference asked if Covarrubias was perhaps recording, an action we have seen being compared to holding a weapon by law enforcement officers throughout the country over the years.
“He would not do anything other than point what they thought was a gun at them, making de-escalation impossible for our officers,” Zaro said. “I’m not going to ask officers to stand there with what they believe to be a gun pointed at them and not take actions to defend their lives.”
The full press conference is posted below, a good lesson in how the Police PR Spin Machine is conducted.
When one reporter asked what type of phone Covarrubias was holding, Zaro said he had no clue. When a reporter asked the chief to pull out his own cell phone to demonstrate how Covarrubias was using it to mimic a gun, the chief said he had no cell phone.
But he also stated that witnesses recorded the incident with their cell phones, apparently managing to do it without mimicking a gun. That video is not being released because it is being used as evidence in the “investigation.”
The incident took place last month after Covarrubias ran through a lumber yard, prompting workers to call police because they figured he was running from them considering they heard sirens in the distance.
But police say those sirens were for somebody else, but responded nonetheless.
By the time they arrived, they found Covarrubias standing on top of a 25-foot stack of lumber.
Officers David Butts and Ryan Hamilton tried to talk to him, but Covarrubias did not respond. He then stuffed his hands in his pockets, sending a chill down their spines.
When they ordered him to remove his hands from his pockets, he pulled out what the chief described as a “dark object,” which sent another chill down their spines.
And when he pointed that object towards them, the two cops fired nine times, five of those bullets striking Covarrubias.
Six seconds elapsed from the time Covarrubias pulled out his phone and the final shot was fired.
Police say that Covarrubias had been hallucinating after having gone three days without eating on a methamphetamine binge.
But they also said he had just left a hospital where they released him, apparently knowing he was not in the most stable condition.