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VIDEO: Bodycam Shows Suspect With Gun Before He Was Shot, Activists Claim Police Didn’t De-Escalate Enough

Gaithersburg, MD – Police have released multiple bodycam videos of the officer-involved shooting of 21-year-old Ryan LeRoux in the drive-thru of a Maryland McDonalds (video below).

The incident occurred on July 16 after Montgomery County police responded to the McDonalds on Flower Hill Road for a report of a man who had ordered food but refused to pay for it and was blocking the drive-thru lane, the Associated Press reported.

The first officer who arrived on the scene approached the vehicle and saw a handgun sitting on the passenger seat of the vehicle.

The driver, later identified as LeRoux, ignored the officer’s commands to put his hands up and the officer backed away and took cover to wait for backup to arrive, the bodycam video showed.

“He’s awake, but he’s not listening to my commands,” he told responding officers over the radio. “He’s got his hands on his phone. The gun is on the passenger seat. Get cover!”

Officers who responded to the scene established a perimeter around LeRoux’s vehicle and ordered the man to put his hands up and unlock his vehicle multiple times, but LeRoux continued to ignore them.

Police put stop sticks in front of the white SUV and placed a bodycam in the drive-thru window to capture a view of LeRoux inside his vehicle, the Associated Press reported.

A dispatcher called LeRoux on his cell phone and the suspect answered and told the woman that he could hear the officers and his hands were up, even though they weren’t, the video released by Montgomery County police showed.

He eventually hung up on the dispatcher and a sergeant called him back and tried talk to him, the Associated Press reported.

But LeRoux hung up on the sergeant, too.

A crisis negotiator was called to the scene but hadn’t yet arrived when LeRoux sat up in the front seat of his SUV, bodycam video showed.

Videos released by the police department showed it appeared LeRoux was holding the gun when he raised his hand in the air and officers opened fire.

Seconds after the shooting, a team of officers assembled behind a shield to approach the white SUV, bodycam video showed.

“Gun is on his lap,” one of the officers said when he looked through the window of the car.

The officers opened the car and removed a handgun, the bodycam showed.

Officers immediately began performing life-saving measures and LeRoux was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment, the Associated Press reported.

He succumbed to his gunshot wounds at the hospital.

Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones narrated portions of the video at a press conference on Tuesday to release it, but he did not express his opinion on whether the shooting had been justified, The Washington Post reported.

“You are watching this from the perspective of the officers’ body-worn cameras,” Chief Jones said. “Their cameras do not replace the human eye and what the officer saw that evening.”

LeRoux’s mother, Rhonda LeRoux, told reporters that her son had been depressed and had lost his job and his girlfriend, the Associated Press reported.

She said he was also still grieving his grandmother’s recent death.

Rhonda LeRoux said her son was living in his car and had bought a gun to protect himself, the Associated Press reported.

She claimed the “handpicked” videos that Montgomery County police had released didn’t show her son pointing a gun at police.

“Ryan was sitting inside his car for over an hour. Clearly, the Montgomery County police failed to deescalate the situation,” the mother said. “Their way of resolving this situation was just to unload a barrage of 24 bullets into him while he’s sitting in his car.”

The Silver Spring Justice Coalition, an activist group, organized a protest after the bodycam was released on July 27 and said Montgomery County police didn’t actually try to de-escalate the situation, The Washington Post reported.

“The Silver Spring Justice Coalition is asking Chief Jones to tell us clearly, what is the de-escalation plan for police officers in situations where people are clearly in mental distress?” coalition member Carlean Ponder asked. “What is 30 minutes? Is that enough to brag about and say we engaged in de-escalation?”

Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

View all articles
Written by Sandy Malone

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