California Campus Cops Shoot, Kill Student During Struggle
Campus police shot and killed a 38-year-old Cal State University San Bernardino student outside his apartment after he allegedly reached for an officer’s baton, grabbed and used pepper spray, and then began kicking an officer in the head, according to San Bernardino city police officials.
Bartholomew Williams was a graduate student who was has been working toward a master’s degree in educational instructional technology since summer 2011, but had taken only one course during the semester that ended Friday, said university spokesman Sid Robinson.
The fatal confrontation occurred during the third time that officers had been summoned to deal with Williams that day because of erratic behavior, police said. Officers from an early shift dealt with the first two incidents, details of which were unavailable Sunday.
The violence began after three campus police officers on a later shift answered the third call and knocked on the apartment door to investigate a report that Williams was creating a disturbance and acting irrationally, police said.
Williams answered the door and stepped into the hallway where the officers questioned him.
“They tried to take him into custody for psychological evaluation,” Robertson said. “He resisted … and the struggle began.”
Various witnesses told investigators that the fight lasted as long as seven to 10 minutes.
Williams was at least 6 feet tall and weighed 205 pounds, police said.
During the fight, officers used batons and pepper-spray, Robertson said, “which had no effect on him whatsoever, according to the officers.”
Williams reportedly fought for control of at least one of the batons. And at one point, he gained possession of an officer’s pepper spray and used it, Robertson said.
The officers, two men and a woman, were unable to overcome him. Ultimately, Williams got the upper hand on one male officer, police say.
“He had one handcuff on: It was now swinging … (creating) a weapon with serrated teeth,” said city police Lt. Paul Williams. “He was on top of the officer, kicking the officer in the head and torso.”
Believing that the officer was in danger of great bodily injury or death, the two remaining officers fired a total of five bullets, city police said.
Campus police are not equipped with Tasers.
“The reaction I’ve seen is that people are a little upset because he was (rumored to be) unarmed,” said 21-year-old communications major Vanessa Sandoval, of Indio. “Was it really necessary (for him) to be shot?”