Shocking footage shows San Diego cop fatally shooting chain-wielding man shouting 'Trump is the Devil'
The suspect, 48-year-old Vaughn Denham, had reportedly attacked another person using a machete while arguing over a dog chain, before the police officer arrived on the scene
Police in San Diego have released footage showing the horrific moment when a police officer fatally shot a chain-wielding man who was walking toward him shouting, "Trump is the devil".
The suspect, 48-year-old Vaughn Denham, had reportedly attacked another person using a machete while arguing over a dog chain. Officer Corey Pitts had responded to the scene on August 8, 2017, and attempted to intervene when Denham came up to his patrol car and proceeded to swing a four-foot metal chain at the vehicle. The San Diego's District Attorney's Office shared that the officer had acted in self-defense and claimed he was not criminally liable for the shooting.
The office also released a two-minute long video from the incident and claimed that Pitts had demanded Denham to drop the chain which he had refused to do and instead continued to walk toward Pitts swinging the chain. Pitts then used a taser but that did not stop Denham from charging at him. This led to Pitts moving back a block-and-a-half while continuing to order Denham to drop the chain and get on the ground.
The footage shows Pitts warning Denham that he would shoot if he did not put the chain down. According to the New York Post, Denham could be heard muttering, "Trump is the Devil". Denham is then seen running towards Pitts who is heard saying, "Drop that now, drop the chain. Get down now" to which Denham responds, "Shut the f**k up."
Pitts shared with investigators that he believed that if Denham got close enough, he could very well knock the gun out of his hand and use it against him. Pitts then fired two shots which saw Denham fall to the ground. He passed away at the hospital later that day and a toxicology report showed phencyclidine (PCP), cannabinoids, and methamphetamine in his system.
According to California law, officers can use deadly force in order to protect themselves from the threat of death or great bodily harm and also use reasonable force in making an arrest. Denham's family issued a statement asking police officials to meet them so that they could see the video clip and understand "the full picture of what transpired".
Denham's niece Voneva Denham spoke to NBC and said, "We're here today to pay respect to my uncle who was murdered and to request that we are able to see the footage of the police officer who shot him and also any footage they have of things leading up to his death."
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