In a case with some similarities to the recent shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Pasadena police say that an unarmed black teenager was killed because of an overzealous 911 caller. In this case, however, it was the police who shot the teenager.
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Kendrec McDade, 19, was fatally shot by Pasadena police on March 24th after being suspected of armed robbery.
Oscar Carrillo, 26, returned to his car from a taco truck on Saturday night when he found McDade and another man going through the contents of his car, the Pasadena Sun reported. The men fled, and Carrillo called the police. In his phone call, Carrillo said that the men pointed a gun at him.
"Two guys ... just put a gun in my face," the caller said, according to the Los Angeles Times. He said the two men had stolen his laptop.
Pasadena Police Lt. Phlunte Riddle told the Sun that officers then found McDade and shot at him after he appeared to reach into his waistband.
But police never found a gun on McDade.
Carrillo later told police that he lied about seeing a gun so that officers would respond to his call faster, police told the Associated Press.
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As a result, Carrillo was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter.
"Mr. Carrillo emphatically indicated a gun was involved ... that is very important. It sets the platform for the mind-set of the responding officers," Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said at a news conference, according to the LA Times.
McDade had been a star football player at Azusa High School.
“He was a good kid who was never in trouble," his former coach told the Sun. The paper also found that he had no criminal record.
An attorney for McDade's family argued that police should also take responsibility for the death.
"They can't blame the caller because they shot an unarmed black man," Caree Harper, the McDade family attorney, told the AP. "He didn't pull the trigger and the officers can use discretion."