Police shot a man 20 times in his back yard, thinking he had a gun

 

Police say they saw an object in Stephan Clark's hand before firing 20 bullets that killed him in his own yard Sunday night in Sacramento.

The two officers were responding to a 911 call about a man breaking vehicle windows, and encountered Clark, 22. They believed he was holding a gun. It was a cellphone.

They each fired 10 rounds at Clark, striking him multiple times.

"He was at the wrong place at the wrong time in his own back yard?" his grandmother, Sequita Thompson, told the Sacramento Bee. "C'mon now, they didn't have to do that."

Police said the man they believed was breaking windows was the same man they killed in a hail of gunfire, identified as a man over 6 feet tall, the Sacramento Police Department said in a statement Monday.

Thompson disputes that. Her grandson was short, she said in a video produced by the Bee. She believes another suspect was smashing windows, but Clark was in her back yard at the wrong time.

The door bell is broken, and family members tap on the back window for someone to open the garage door, the family told the paper. Clark was staying at his grandmother's at the time.

Gunfire startled her that night.

"The only thing that I heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got to the ground," she said in the video. She said she began to suspect the police describing a dead person in her yard was a member of the family.

Adrian Long

Adrian Long

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