Long Beach police kill man carrying assault-weapon replica

Screenshot from NBC4 report on officer-involved shooting in Long Beach on May 7, 2016. Officers shot and killed a man who they said was carrying what turned out to be a pellet-gun replica of an Uzi-style assault rifle.
Screenshot from NBC4 report on officer-involved shooting in Long Beach on May 7, 2016. Officers shot and killed a man who they said was carrying what turned out to be a pellet-gun replica of an Uzi-style assault rifle. NBC4

Police in Long Beach shot and killed a man late Saturday afternoon after seeing him holding what turned out to be a pellet-gun replica of an Uzi-style assault rifle.

Officers responded to a call at about 4:50 p.m. of a man holding an Uzi in his hand while standing next to a car and talking to three individuals near 21st Street and Locust Avenue, police said.

When the officers arrived on the scene they saw two men standing next to a vehicle matching the description given to them by the caller, and the officers observed the butt of a gun exposed from the waistband of one of the men, police said.

The officers gave several verbal commands to the two men to put their hands up, police said.

"Despite giving several clear commands, the suspect did not comply and reached his hand toward the butt of the gun in his waistband. At this point an officer involved shooting occurred," a police statement said.

Officers rendered medical aid to the man but Long Beach Fire Department paramedics who arrived on the scene pronounced him dead, police said.  Coroner's officials on Sunday identified the man as 21-year-old Lionel Gibson of Long Beach.

"After closer examination, the assault rifle was later determined to be an Airsoft replica assault rifle," police said.

(Police later released a photo of the gun they said was recovered at the scene, which is posted here.)

Long Beach police released this photo of what they said was the pellet-gun replica of an Uzi-style assault weapon a man was carrying before being fatally shot by officers on May 7, 2016.
Long Beach police released this photo of what they said was the pellet-gun replica of an Uzi-style assault weapon a man was carrying before being fatally shot by officers on May 7, 2016. Long Beach Police Department

Resident Patricia Porter told KPCC media partner NBC4 that she witnessed the shooting from her balcony.

"We heard a barrage of gunfire, about eight or 10 shots," Porter said. "What I saw was a bunch of policemen by the alley. They all had their guns drawn. They were like, 'Man with a gun! Get down! Get down!' And then I just heard the shots. Seemed like four, five police opened fire at the same time."

The individual standing with the man who was shot and two other males in the vehicle were detained for further investigation, police said. 

A handgun was recovered from one of the men detained, and he will be booked on a charge of an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, police said.

The shooting will be investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County coroner.

This story was updated with the identity of the man killed.

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