Police on Tuesday released a video detailing how an officer shot and wounded a man suspected of repeatedly firing at innocent bystanders outside the Long Beach Grand Prix last month.
Police say 39-year-old Long Beach resident Esmundo Chavarin shot at several people Downtown, apparently at random, as thousands of people were attending the nearby Long Beach Grand Prix on April 16.
Chavarin, according to police, wounded one person in the process. Several other people escaped injury but were left shaken. One victim told authorities he was trying to find parking for the Grand Prix when he was suddenly fired on.
“He tried to shoot me in my vehicle,” the man can be heard telling a 911 operator in the graphic video. “I’m really um, I’m like … I’m trippin.'”
Police have not released any details on a potential motive for the shootings but said they do not appear to have been targeted.
The video police released Tuesday includes footage stitched together from officers’ body cameras and security cameras scattered around Downtown.
A man authorities identify as Chavarin can be seen at 1:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Ocean Boulevard, not far from the entrance of the Grand Prix. Police say he points a gun at two people in an alleyway before firing it.
Nobody was injured in the first shooting, and although officers searched the area, they couldn’t locate Chavarin, authorities said.
Police say Chavarin shot at three more bystanders over the next few hours.
- At 3:20 p.m., he allegedly shot and wounded a man at Atlantic Avenue near Seventh Street. The victim survived.
- At about 4:30 p.m., Chavarin allegedly shot at but missed the man trying to park near Third Street and Elm Avenue.
- At 4:52, gunfire rang out near Ocean Boulevard and Elm Avenue, but it didn’t result in any injuries, police said.
Moments later, Chavarin fired on an officer who was looking for him on Elm Avenue near Ocean Boulevard, according to police.
Footage from a security camera shows Chavarin on an Elm Avenue sidewalk before pointing a black object at an officer driving by.
The officer then appears to duck his head before getting out of his vehicle and firing at Chavarin who falls onto the sidewalk.
Meanwhile, bystanders duck for cover, and the officer’s patrol car slowly rolls away before hitting another vehicle and coming to a stop. Police said the officer did not have time to put his car in park or activate his body camera before the shooting.
Because of this, video footage from police interaction with Chavarin is limited to the aftermath, where officers disarm and cuff him as he lies motionless on the ground.
Chavarin survived and has been charged with five counts of attempted murder, two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied vehicle, and one count each of attempted murder on a peace officer, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a felon. He’s remained jailed in lieu of $9.085 million bail ever since his arrest.
Long Beach police released the video Tuesday as required under new police transparency laws mandating they disclose footage of critical incidents like police shootings.
The District Attorney’s Office and LBPD are also investigating to determine if the officer who shot Chavarin acted appropriately, as is the case with all police shootings.