Body camera video released Friday by Fullerton police shows that the 17-year-old girl killed in a police shooting on an Anaheim freeway had exited her vehicle and was holding a fake gun, according to police.
Hannah Williams can only briefly be seen outside the gray rental SUV she was in before she's shot on the eastbound 91 Freeway near Kraemer Boulevard on July 5. Fullerton police say the replica Beretta later found near her body can be seen in her hands, pointed at the officer.
The bodycam's audio was not activated when the officer opened fire, so it's unclear exactly when she was shot. The audio cuts in as the officer is radioing, "Shots fired," while backing around the SUV.
Williams is next seen lying on her back on the freeway. The replica firearm is on the ground a few feet away.
"Show me your (expletive) hands," the officer shouts before radioing that Williams is down. "Show me your hands."
He can be heard saying he sees a gun on the ground and orders her to roll onto her stomach with her arms stretched to the side.
As the officer begins handcuffing the teen, Williams can be heard pleading, "Help me please, help me please," and she tells the officer she can't breathe.
The Fullerton officer is told via radio that a Los Angeles police officer is on scene, and a man in plainclothes with a badge approaches.
The man picks up the fake gun, then asks Williams where she was hit. As he begins to render aid, he hands the gun to the Fullerton officer and tells him it's a replica.
The Fullerton officer takes the gun and puts it in his vehicle.
Williams was eventually taken to a hospital, where she died.
Williams' family had been looking for her for hours when she was fatally shot, according to Fullerton Police Lt. Jon Radus.
At about 8:30 p.m. on July 5 — about 90 minutes after the shooting — a man who identified himself as the teen’s father called 911 to report her and the rental vehicle missing, according to audio of the phone call released by Fullerton police.
The caller indicated the 17-year-old left their Anaheim home about three hours earlier and expressed concern that he hadn’t heard from her. He said his daughter was on antidepressants.
When asked by the dispatcher if he feared his daughter would hurt herself, he responded, “I am.”
The dispatcher followed up by asking if she had mentioned anything about harming herself, and the caller said she had not.
According to the family, the teen was driving a rental car they were sharing over the Fourth of July weekend; they believe another child may have left the fake gun in the vehicle.
Williams had just gotten her driver's permit and was apparently taking the rental out to practice driving around 6:30 p.m. when she inadvertently ended up on the 91 Freeway, according to her family.
An on-duty Fullerton officer was in a marked police SUV also headed eastbound on the 91, driving a K-9 to the veterinarian, when he saw a speeding vehicle traveling in the same direction, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, which is investigating.
Radus on Thursday said the gray SUV appeared to have intentionally collided with the police car after the officer tried to pull it over. Williams then allegedly made an abrupt U-turn into oncoming traffic and came to a skidding stop facing the wrong way.
Fullerton police earlier this week said the replica gun she was found with was "designed to look identical to a Berretta 92 FS."
S. Lee Merritt, the civil rights attorney retained by Williams’ family, on Thursday said police only found the fake firearm Monday, when they first searched the SUV, three days after the shooting.
“We don’t believe that the weapon played any role in this incident,” Merritt said. “Law enforcement has not indicated that the replica weapon played any role in this incident, and if it did it would have been captured on the bodycam footage.”
Police first publicly confirmed that a replica handgun was found near Williams’ body on Tuesday.
The family has criticized authorities’ handling of the case, saying investigators have lacked transparency and accountability.
Williams’ family and Merritt held a press conference after the video was released Friday.
"We learned today, as you probably learned, that Hannah was in a shooting stance at the time that the officer discharged his weapon," Merritt said. "If they had known that from the beginning, that would have given them a bit more closure.
"Now we still have questions," the attorney continued, "but they can sleep better tonight knowing that they have some answers."
Authorities have until now released no description of what prompted the officer to open fire.
Autopsy results have not yet been released. Williams' family is planning to have an independent postmortem exam conducted once they receive the body.