Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Why Every Home Or Apartment Should Have A Lawn Sprinkler System
Shooting of man holding water nozzle angers family
Dec 14 2010
This image released by the Long Beach Police shows the black pistol grip water hose nozzle held by Doug Zerby (below, with sister) before being shot to death by Long Beach cops.
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Angry relatives of a man shot to death by police who mistook a pistol-grip water nozzle he held for a gun are lashing out at officers, saying they made no effort to contact him before opening fire.
However, police officials say Douglas Zerby's behavior prompted the trigger happy officers' response. An unauthorized spokeswoman for the cops told unauthorized reporters that most cops never have the opportunity to shoot a suspect, much less kill one. All those hours spent at the firing range and then no one to shoot? It's got to be frustrating.
"As the subject was in a seated position, he used a two-handed pistol-grip hold on an object with his arms fully extended," Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said in police speak. "Somebody that is impaired and waving what appears to witnesses and police to be a handgun. That's what the officers were faced with." (These officers were so impaired they were unable to distinguish between a water nozzle connected to a water hose and a handgun.) Sheesh!
Zerby pointed it at one of the officers and two officers fired their weapons, a handgun and a shotgun. A total of eight shots were fired -- two from shot gun and six from a handgun, McDonnell said. The officers were making sure the alleged gunman was DRT. (Dead Right There)
Zerby's sister, Eden Marie Biele, said officers made no attempt to talk to her 35-year-old brother or get his attention before shooting him to death.
"They didn't say 'Put your hands up' or 'Freeze' or anything," Biele told The Associated Press Monday. "He was killed in cold blood."
Biele was among the family members whose sobs were heard among McDonnell's explanations of the events leading to Zerby's death on Sunday.
"This is a very unfortunate set of circumstances and leaves the family to deal with it here," McDonnell said, offering his condolences to the Zerby family.
The Long Beach officers were dispatched to an apartment building after two people reported a man with a gun sitting on a backyard porch landing, McDonnell said. In an excerpt of a 911 call played for reporters, a male caller said the man appeared to have a "tiny six-shooter."
McDonnell said the officers took positions to observe Zerby, who appeared intoxicated, and believed he had a gun as described by the callers, but focused on setting up containment of the area rather than contacting him. The officers were trying to protect all the citizens of Long Beach, according to a recorded message played over police speakers.
As officers awaited requested backup units, the man pointed the object at apartments and played with it, causing it to make sounds similar to those of a gun being handled, he said. Everyone knows a water hose sounds like a gun being handled.
Both officers were placed on administrative leave, a standard move after a police shooting. One said he was taking this opportunity to take his kids to Disneyland.
Biele said the family is considering legal action over the shooting.
She said Zerby, who had an 8-year-old son, had been drinking and rather than drive home, went to his friend's place and was waiting on the stairs for him to come home.
"He never knew there was a problem. Police snuck down the corridor and shot him," Biele said. "He was a drunk sitting on a stoop fumbling with a hose nozzle."