(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Sacramento police have released dramatic body camera video from the moment a man allegedly took a cop’s gun during a struggle and fired off shots.
The officer, who did not fire any rounds, was not seriously injured, Sacramento police said.
The suspect, Juan Heras-Castro, 33, wasn’t hurt, either. He has since been charged with attempted murder, prosecutors said.
The Feb. 22 incident began when police received calls about someone walking with a knife. Responding officers found Castro, handcuffed him, and placed in the back of a police vehicle, authorities said.
Castro seemed “calm and cooperative” to the officers, police said.
“After some initial questioning SPD officers recognized that Mr. Castro may be suffering from a mental health crisis,” so he was taken to a hospital to be evaluated, police said.
Because of his “calm demeanor,” he wasn’t detained in handcuffs, police said.
But as medical staff started to evaluate him, Castro abruptly ran out of the hospital, in a shocking moment caught on an officer’s body-cam, police said.
The officer’s bodycam shows him sprinting after Castro, through the hospital parking and into a neighborhood.
When the officer caught up, “Castro stopped running and became physically combative toward the officer,” police said in a statement.
“During the struggle, Castro was able to remove the officer’s handgun from the holster,” they said.
The struggle between the two was seen on the body-cam, but after that, the camera is pointed toward the sky.
Police say Castro had control of the gun and his finger on the trigger. The officer, afraid Castro would kill him, tried to get control but could only trap the gun against the ground, police said.
Three shots and screaming are heard on the body-camera. Police said Castro fired three shots.
An off-duty firefighter who was driving by stopped to help and together he and the officer were able to get the gun and take Castro into custody, police said.
“The danger posed to the officer and our community during this incident was significant and unacceptable. We are grateful that no one was seriously injured,” police said in a statement on Thursday. “We would like to thank all the citizens, particularly the off-duty firefighter, for the assistance they provided to the officer during this violent confrontation. Your quick thinking and action changed the course of this encounter, saving our officer, Mr. Castro and our community from further harm.”
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has filed a single count of attempted murder with an allegation that the defendant used a firearm. After Castro was arraigned, his counsel requested that doctors to determine his competency to stand trial “and we are in the initial phases of that process,” said Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shelly Orio.
Castro’s next hearing is April 18, Orio said.
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