A possible handgun recovered at the scene of a police shooting on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim that left a 17-year-old girl dead was determined to be a replica, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.
The fake gun — which was found next to the teen — was “designed to look identical to a Beretta 92 FS handgun,” a statement from the DA’s office read.
Prosecutors released the new details about the shooting around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, but did not specify what transpired before the shooting that left Hannah Linn Williams dead.
A spokesman for the family responded about 30 minutes later, at a news conference that was scheduled prior to the DA’s statement.
“We maintain she was unarmed,” said the Rev. Jarrett Maupin. “A fake gun is a fake gun.”
Hannah’s relatives gathered at the news conference, held at Anaheim City Hall, where they mourned Williams and demanded answers as questions continue to swirl about the circumstances surrounding the teen’s death.
“We are more than devastated,” the teen’s godmother Lynette Campbell said as she read a statement on behalf of the family. “Losing Hannah is hard. The circumstances in which we lost her has made it that much harder.”
Relatives appeared visibly emotional at the event, and her immediate family did not speak.
Williams was described as a beloved daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter and friend, and someone who helped others. Community service was an important part of her life, according to Campbell. She worked as a lifeguard and also volunteered at community health fairs with her parents.
“She had her whole life ahead of her,” Campbell said.
Williams was pronounced dead at a hospital after being shot on the eastbound 91 near Kramer Boulevard around 7 p.m. Friday.
Since then, police have remained tight-lipped about the shooting, releasing few details.
Her family has also struggled to obtain information as multiple agencies — including Anaheim and Fullerton police, as well as the DA’s office — investigate the case.
“The information that we have received from the Police Department has changed several times,” Campbell said.
Relatives have been getting the runaround from law enforcement agencies, being directed by one department to the other, Maupin said.
In a news release from Saturday, the Anaheim Police Department referred to Williams as a “suspect,” though they did not provide any information regarding what crime she was suspected of committing.
An on-duty Fullerton Police Department officer — dressed in full uniform — was driving a police K-9 to the veterinarian in a marked police SUV eastbound on the 91 Freeway when he saw a teen girl driving “at a high rate of speed” in the same direction, according to the DA’s news release.
The two vehicles collided sometime after that, and then the shooting occurred, the release stated.
Maupin noted Williams was in was a rental car at the time of the deadly incident, and it was unclear who owned the replica handgun; he indicated Hannah had several siblings.
An update on the case could come midweek, according to police.
Williams’ family believes the officer should be placed on unpaid leave until the investigation concludes.
They are also calling on Gov. Gavin Newson to order California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to open a civil rights investigation into the deadly incident.
Maupin said the NAACP, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other civil rights groups have been involved. Hannah’s father is African American and her mother is Mexican American, he said.
Police have not released results from the autopsy, but the Williams family already says they’ll have a second, independent postmortem examination conducted, according to Maupin’s statement.
The family anticipated they would get custody of Hannah’s body Tuesday afternoon, Maupin said. They planned to hold another news conference once the second autopsy was conducted.
Anyone with information about the shooting can leave information anonymously by calling CrimeStoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS or visiting the website occrimestoppers.org.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the officer who shot Williams was off-duty. This post has been updated.