The Black man shot and killed by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy had “grabbed one of the deputies’ weapons” during a physical altercation in San Clemente, officials said Thursday.
Preliminary findings show one deputy shot twice, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said during a news conference.
The two deputies approached 42-year-old Kurt Andras Reinhold outside Hotel Miramar, at 2222 S. El Camino Real, at about 1:12 p.m. Wednesday and a scuffle broke out.
“During the physical altercation, Mr. Reinhold grabbed one of the deputies’ weapons and appears to have tried to bring it out of the holster,” Barnes said. “It’s not clear from the video if Mr. Reinhold was able to completely unholster the weapon — that will be part of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office investigation.”
The Sheriff’s Department released a still from surveillance video from the hotel that appears to show Reinhold’s hand near or on a deputy’s holster while he and the deputies were struggling on the ground.
“When the video is released, you’ll see it was it was a significant struggle with Mr. Reinhold that went on for some time, and the deputy did state four different times, ‘he’s got my gun,’ on four separate occasions — that was confirmed with at least one video I saw that was independently provided by a witness, where he acknowledged hearing the deputy say ‘he’s got my gun,'” Barnes said.
The Sheriff’s Department had previously said the shooting happened roughly three minutes after deputies made contact with the man.
At one point during the scuffle, the man appeared to be on top of the deputies while the second was on top of him on the side of the road as cars drove past, video obtained by KTLA shows.
The sheriff declined to comment on whether the use of force was justified, saying the investigation is still ongoing and he doesn’t believe the deputies involved had yet given their statements.
The deputies have been placed on leave, as is customary for critical incidents, and they will both be evaluated before they return to work, the sheriff said.
The two deputies, an eight-year veteran and a 13-year veteran, were both part of the department’s 25-member homeless outreach team.
The sheriff did not provide information on why the two deputies initially made contact with Reinhold, but explained that their job is “to engage with and offer services to those members of our community who are experiencing homelessness.”
“The manner in which they contacted him will be part of the district attorney’s investigation,” Barnes said.
The deputies’ training includes crisis intervention training and deescalation, according to the sheriff.
Reinhold had been in the area for about a month and had other interactions with deputies working in the city of San Clemente as part of the homeless outreach team, according to the department.
“We do know that deputies had offered services to Reinhold previously, but he was not receptive of those offers,” Barnes said.
Protests broke out in San Clemente Thursday in the wake of the shooting, one that comes at a time of national unrest over police violence.
Five people were arrested during the protests in San Clemente. Those in custody were suspected of disturbing the peace and not following directives of law enforcement personnel. One arrest was for vandalism of a police car, Barnes said.
With more protests planned for the evening, the San Clemente City Council called an emergency meeting and voted 3-1 to declare a curfew in certain areas from 9 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday.
The areas affected include the Pier Bowl, Avenida Del Mar and the downtown core, and north and south El Camino Real.
Councilman Chris Hamm said “the primary focus is to protect and provide safety to businesses in the community.”
But Councilwoman Laura Ferguson, who cast the sole dissenting vote, said at least one protest had already been canceled and the intel presented to her by the Sheriff’s Department did not demonstrate any gatherings would present a danger to life or property.
“I don’t believe it’s needed at this time,” she said “I certainly want to continue to support the freedoms and liberties of people in our town, free to roam at any time of the day or night.”
The council members will meet again Friday to vote an whether an extension of the curfew is warranted.