Pittsburg body cam video shows armed man retreat up stairs, point gun at police before being killed
PITTSBURG, Calif. - Pittsburg police on Thursday released body cam video and the names of the officers who killed a young father who had been banging on his ex-girlfriend's door and then pointed a gun at them while retreating up an apartment complex stairwell.
Police also identified the man they killed on May 20 at about 9:30 p.m. in the 2300 block of Loveridge Road as 31-year-old Patrick Watkins.
They were sent to this address because Watkins' ex called 911 to say she needed help.
"He's my child's father and he won't leave," she can be heard saying on the phone to dispatchers.
She also told dispatch that he had a gun.
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Officers John Odell, who has been with the department for more than two years, and Greg Simpson, a 5-year veteran, arrived on scene.
When they got there, Watkins was in the stairwell.
Officers tried to talk to him and as they spoke, the video shows Watkins retreating up the stairs. The officers shouted at him to stop and drop his 22.-caliber handgun, but he continued walking away from them, gun still in hand, the video shows.
When the edited body camera is put into slow motion, viewers can see that as Watkins is almost at the top of the stairs, he pulls out a gun in his right hand and points it at police.
"He turns momentarily away from the officers and then he turns back towards them and, at that time, he's pointing the handgun directly at the officers," said Capt. Steve Albanese.
Odell fired three shots and struck Watkins in the torso.
Watkins dropped to the ground.
Simpson fired his gun twice, as he said he saw Watkins still pointing his gun at him and his colleague, police said.
Because the gun was still in his hand and pointing in the direction of the police, the department said the officers waited 40 minutes before using ballistic shields to walk up to him and take the gun out of his hand.
It's unclear from the video if Watkins had died already, which is why he wouldn't have let go of the gun.
After that, paramedics tried to save him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Police said they recovered Watkins' gun, which was unloaded, but there was a live round found next to him. Authorities say they may never know for certain, but it's possible he may have tried to fire it but mistakenly ejected the round.
"It's quite possible that he did manipulate the handgun to where he cycled it, ejecting that live round onto the ground," Albanese said.
As is standard policy, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office will be conducting an independent investigation into the shooting.
The Pittsburg Police Department’s independent outside investigator is also conducting an independent investigation.
KTVU reporter Henry Lee contributed to this report.