“Fatal Confrontation at Mesa College: Gunman Kills Police Dog and is Fatally Wounded”

By | August 11, 2023



Last week, a video was released showing a confrontation between San Diego police and an armed man on the Mesa College campus. The incident ended with the man being shot by an officer and subsequently shooting a police dog. Both the gunman and the dog died from their injuries. The incident is being investigated by the county Sheriff’s Department. The video footage suggests that the officer fired his weapon after the gunman pointed his gun at the officers. The investigation is ongoing, and the District Attorney’s Office will determine if any criminal liability is involved. shooting-of-armed-man-at-mesa-college-suspect-shoots-kills-police-dog/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Stateside Sentinel reported

A video released on Thursday depicts a confrontation that occurred last week between San Diego police and an armed man on the Mesa College campus. The incident escalated when one of the officers shot the man, who then proceeded to shoot a police dog. Tragically, both the gunman and the dog lost their lives.
Officer Addam Ansari used a rifle to fatally wound 33-year-old Benjamin Pickens during the incident on August 2nd at the college campus in San Diego’s Clairemont neighborhood. According to the police, Pickens had pointed his gun towards the officers before Ansari discharged his weapon.
Shortly before the shots were fired, the police released a dog named Sir, who was running towards Pickens. After being shot, Pickens fired his handgun, mortally wounding Sir, a 4½-year-old Belgian Malinois.
As part of a reciprocal agreement between the San Diego Police and the county Sheriff’s Department, the investigation is being handled by the latter. This arrangement ensures that neither department investigates its own officers or deputies when they are involved in a shooting.
The video, which includes text from the Police Department describing the incident from the officers’ perspective, crime scene photographs, and footage from body cameras worn by Ansari and another officer, has been edited for release.
Ansari’s body-worn camera captures audio, but the footage is limited as he was lying on his stomach when he fired the rifle.
Last week, investigators stated that Ansari shot Pickens after the gunman shot the police dog. However, the video seems to indicate that the officer fired first after Pickens pointed his gun at the officers.
When asked to address this discrepancy, sheriff’s investigators deferred to the timeline presented in the Police Department’s video.
The video begins with an audio recording of a 911 call made by a man who claimed to have been shot at by two men in a white Tesla on Ben Street around 1:20 a.m. The man informs dispatchers that he drove away from the attackers after they fired shots at his vehicle.
“There’s a gunshot in my front window and a gunshot in my back window,” the man tells the dispatchers. He confirms that he is unharmed and provides the license plate number of the Tesla.
Officers locate the Tesla a few blocks away from the location mentioned by the 911 caller. According to the Police Department, the driver, later identified as Pickens, is the only occupant of the vehicle.
Pickens tries to evade the officers and ends up crashing the Tesla into a center divider on Armstrong Circle before fleeing the scene on foot.
Police spot Pickens walking west on Mesa College Circle and approach him.
The video then transitions to footage from Ansari’s body-worn camera as he approaches a group of police officers who have their guns aimed at Pickens, who is a short distance away.
One of the officers attempts to communicate with Pickens using a megaphone.
“I can’t hear you, buddy, and we want to work with you,” the officer says in the video. “We want to be able to help you.”
Ansari positions himself on the ground behind a police vehicle, aiming his drawn rifle, although the camera angle prevents a clear view of the scene.
“He’s got his gun in his hand,” another officer can be heard saying. “It’s in his right hand.”
The video captures police officers stating that Pickens, who is talking on a cellphone, repeatedly gestures as if reaching for something concealed under his arm.
“Don’t reach for the gun, man!” the officer with the megaphone warns.
According to the text displayed in the video, Pickens disregards multiple commands from the officers and proceeds to walk towards a parking lot.
At this point, the video switches to the body-worn camera of the officer handling the police dog, referred to as “Canine Officer No. 1.” He restrains Sir while other officers shout that Pickens is walking away.
The handler is instructed to release the dog.
According to the video’s text, Pickens turns and aims his gun at the officers just before the dog reaches him.
Ansari fires his rifle once, prompting police officers to shout, “Shots fired,” as captured in the video.
Seconds later, Pickens can be heard firing his handgun, followed by Sir whimpering.
The canine officer calls for his dog to return to him. Sir walks slowly before collapsing a few yards in front of the officers, as shown in the video.
Pickens falls to the ground after being struck once in the chest, according to the Police Department. Another police dog is released to retrieve Pickens’ nearby handgun.
Officers approach and handcuff Pickens before providing medical assistance.
Pickens is transported to a hospital, while the dog is rushed to a veterinary hospital. Unfortunately, both succumb to their injuries.
Ansari has been a patrol officer in the Western Division of the San Diego Police Department for 11 years.
Sir joined the force in March 2022 and was the second dog in the San Diego department to die on duty since 1994.
Once the Sheriff’s Department completes its investigation, the District Attorney’s Office will review it, as is customary for all shootings involving law enforcement, to determine if the deputies bear any criminal responsibility.
The Police Department will also conduct an internal administrative investigation, and the Commission on Police Practices is expected to review the incident.