A video released by the San Diego police shows a confrontation between officers and a man with a gun on the Mesa College campus. The incident ended with the officers shooting the man, who then shot and killed a police dog. The video footage indicates that the officer fired first after the man pointed his gun at them, contradicting initial reports. The county Sheriff’s Department is handling the investigation, and the Police Department will conduct an internal administrative investigation. Caleb Lunetta reported
The following image depicts a confrontation 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 retaliated by shooting a police dog. Both the gunman and the dog tragically lost their lives. Officer Addam Ansari was responsible for firing the fatal shot that ended the life of Benjamin Pickens, 33, during the incident on August 2nd. Prior to the shooting, Pickens had pointed his gun towards the officers, prompting Ansari to respond with his own weapon. The video footage, which includes text from the Police Department, crime scene photographs, and body-camera footage, provides a detailed account of the incident from the officers’ perspective. Although Ansari’s body-worn camera captured audio, the limited visibility in the footage makes it difficult to discern the exact sequence of events. Initial reports from investigators suggested that Ansari shot Pickens after the gunman had already shot the police dog. However, the video seems to contradict this, indicating that the officer fired first after Pickens pointed his gun at the officers. When asked about this discrepancy, sheriff’s investigators deferred to the timeline presented in the Police Department’s video. The video commences with an audio recording of a 911 call made by a man who claimed to have been shot at by two individuals in a white Tesla. The man stated that after being shot at, he managed to escape unscathed and provided the license plate number of the Tesla. The officers subsequently located the Tesla a few blocks away from the initial shooting location, with Pickens being the sole occupant of the vehicle. Upon being approached by the police, Pickens fled the scene in the Tesla and crashed it into a center divider on Armstrong Circle before making his way onto the Mesa College campus. Eventually, officers caught up with Pickens as he was walking west on Mesa College Circle. The footage from Ansari’s body-worn camera captures the moment he approaches a group of officers who have their guns trained on Pickens. As the officers attempt to communicate with Pickens through a megaphone, Ansari positions himself behind a police vehicle, lying on his stomach with his rifle drawn. The video goes black as Ansari’s camera is pointed towards the ground. According to the audio in the video, officers observed Pickens with a gun in his right hand and noticed him making gestures as if he were reaching for something concealed under his arm. Despite repeated commands from the officers, Pickens ignored them and proceeded to walk towards a parking lot. At this point, the video switches to the body-worn camera footage of the officer handling the police dog, referred to as “Canine Officer No. 1.” The officer is seen restraining the dog, Sir, while other officers alert him that Pickens is moving away. The handler is then instructed to release the dog. According to the video’s text, Pickens turns and points his gun towards the officers just as the dog approaches him. In response, Ansari fires his rifle, prompting other officers to shout “Shots fired.” Shortly after, Pickens can be heard firing his own handgun, and the dog, Sir, is heard whimpering. Sir walks slowly before collapsing a few yards away from the officers. Pickens also falls to the ground after being struck in the chest, and a second police dog is deployed to remove his nearby handgun. The officers approach Pickens, place him in handcuffs, and provide medical aid. Pickens is transported to a hospital, while the dog is rushed to a veterinary hospital. Tragically, both succumb to their injuries. Officer Ansari has been a member of the San Diego Police Department for 11 years and serves as a patrol officer in the Western Division. Sir, the police dog, joined the force in March 2022 and was the second dog in the department to die in the line of duty since 1994. Following the investigation by the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office will review the case to determine if any criminal charges are warranted. Additionally, the Police Department will conduct an internal administrative investigation, and the Commission on Police Practices is expected to review the incident as well..