Police in North Carolina shot a man in the back who was apparently feeling after allegedly stealing pizza from a nearby store, according to video that was filmed and recorded immediately following the shooting on Tuesday afternoon. The Raleigh Police Department later identified the victim was identified as Javier Torres, a 26-year-old man who was being treated at a hospital for his wounds. The extent of his injuries was not immediately clear.
A woman managed to film three separate videos of the aftermath, including an overwhelming police response by multiple vehicles. The videos don’t show much else, as they were filmed at a far distance from where police were responding. But it was the narrative provided by the woman filming and others nearby that was even more significant.
The woman, clearly shaken, recaps what the camera did not film of Torres, who she and others mistook for a teenager. Speculating Torres couldn’t be older than 16, the woman filming explained in part what she had just seen.
“He was running with a pizza and they shot this little boy,” the woman said while filming the first responders’ vehicles racing to the scene.
The voice of what sounds like a young girl then chimed in: “The little boy stole a pizza and they shot him in his back.”
The woman then explained that she was at a Sheetz convenience store when “we seen the little boy just running, with a pizza, all of a sudden I see a cop pull his gun out … then next thing you know you heard gunshots.”
Watch the videos, which all include expletives.
The shooting was part of the trend in recent years of police shooting people in the back.
Raleigh police quickly put out a statement and said Torres was armed and that the officer who fired the lone shot had activated his bodycam before the shooting.
“At approximately 6:40 p.m., Raleigh Police officers responded to a call of a man with a gun in the 1000 block of N. Rogers Lane. When officers arrived at the scene, they observed an individual who matched the description given by the 911 caller. This individual was later identified as Javier Torres (DOB 8/3/93),” Raleigh police said in part. “Mr. Torres ran upon the arrival of the responding officers and a foot chase ensued, during which police repeatedly ordered Mr. Torres to stop and drop the gun. During the chase, Mr. Torres was shot one time by a responding officer. He was transported to a nearby hospital by EMS. A handgun, as described by the 911 caller, was located at the scene of the shooting.”
The statement did not make a reference to where on his body Torres was struck.
Other officers there recorded the shooting with their bodycams and Raleigh police said it would “seek a petition to authorize release of the video of this incident.”
The shooting comes about a month after Raleigh police bloodied up a Black driver who they snatched from his car because he was allegedly involved in a hit and run. A bystander filmed the video of Braily Batista, who ended up with a black eye and other bruising from an officer repeatedly kneeing and hitting the driver while trying to force him out of the car. Eventually, a second cop arrived and helped forcefully remove Batista from the car and pin him down to the hard ground.
In 2016, Raleigh police shot and killed a Black man they were chasing. Officials investigating the incident said a gun was found “in close proximity” to 24-year-old Akiel Denkins, but a witness claimed the victim was unarmed.
Soon after the shooting, a crowd formed and protests ensued with demonstrators marching to the chief of police’s home and demanding justice for the cowardly act of a trained police officer shooting a fleeing man in the back.
“We need immediate and swift transparency regarding this incident because the community has a right to know and needs to know what’s going on,” a protester named Kerwin Pittman told local news outlet CBS17.
Following the visit to Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown’s home, CBS17 reported that “a large crowd appeared in downtown Raleigh” and then “marched through downtown to the State Capitol building early Wednesday morning. During the march, the group — with some carrying signs — chanted ‘Whose streets? Our streets!’ and blocked Salisbury Street at the State Capitol. Many police units were nearby during the demonstration.”
The protesters then went to the governor’s mansion and snatched the American flag from the home and burned it in the street.