Man fatally shot during struggle with officer outside San Bernardino liquor store

Local news

An investigation is underway after an officer fatally shot a man during a struggle outside a San Bernardino liquor store Thursday night.

Police received a call for assistance about 11:18 p.m. because a man was jumping on vehicles in the parking lot outside King Tut Liquor in the 200 block of East Baseline Street, San Bernardino Police Department Sgt. John Echevarria said.

A solo officer was on patrol nearby and responded to the call, Echevarria said.

The officer contacted the suspect, later identified as 35-year-old Mark Matthew Bender Jr., who refused his instructions and attempted to enter the store, Echevarria said.

The officer put himself between Bender and the store, which was open and occupied at the time, and an altercation between the two occurred.

Cellphone video obtained by a freelance news photographer and distributed to KTLA shows the officer and suspect engaged in the physical confrontation.

The suspect was wrestled to the ground, where he appears to take something out of his waistband or pocket.

Seconds later, the video shows the man starting to get up as the officer is still clinging to his back. The officer then lets go, pulls out his service weapon and fires multiple rounds, the footage shows.

Echevarria said that Bender, who was described as standing 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighing about 300 pounds, had a weapon and was physically overpowering the officer.

“When the officer saw that the suspect had a weapon, he defended himself with a firearm,” Echevarria said.

Bender was struck multiple times by the gunfire and taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Echevarria said a gun was located at the scene.

The officer involved in the shooting has not yet been identified.

Some community members who gathered in the parking lot after the shooting said the officer didn’t need to shoot Bender.

“That young man was shot for nothing,” one bystander said.

Video of the incident was also recorded on the officer’s body camera, which Echevarria said will be released later on social media.

He described Bender’s criminal past as “lengthy,” including arrests for domestic violence, theft, procession of narcotics, felon in possession of a firearm and receiving stolen property.

Bender also had recent arrests for false imprisonment, criminal threats and attempted murder, Echevarria said.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story wasn’t clear about how KTLA obtained the cellphone video showing the shooting. It was distributed by a freelance news photographer. The post has been updated.

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