Long Beach police shot a man who appeared to be holding a gun atop an apartment building near Poly High School on Saturday, and officers later found him dead on the roof, according to video and eyewitness accounts.
Police said the situation started around 11:10 a.m. with a 911 call about a dispute in a vehicle, which officers later determined was a kidnapping, assault and attempted carjacking that left the victim hospitalized. Police rushed to the scene in the 1000 block of East 17th Street, which is just east of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. When they arrived, the man had left the car and was already on the roof, according to police.
A maintenance worker at the scene told the Long Beach Post he’d encountered the man before police arrived. The worker, who asked not to be named because he was still shaken up, said he was painting an apartment building when he stopped to get a drink of water. That’s when he saw the man run toward him and climb up his ladder. Once the man got up, the worker said, the man knocked the ladder over and refused to come down.
The worker said the man appeared to be upset or having some kind of episode, so he offered him a drink of water before seeing the gun and fleeing. Police soon arrived and surrounded the building.
A video provided by a neighbor shows the man holding and waving something shaped like a handgun. He paces back and forth across the roof, at times yelling, “I’m not pointing it.” Police said they tried to de-escalate the situation while setting up a perimeter, activating SWAT and ushering residents to safety.
In the video, police periodically fire less-lethal foam rounds at the man, some of which bounce off his body. When he extends his hand with what appears to be the handgun in it, there’s a sound of louder rounds, and he collapses to the rooftop.
Police said he was pointing the gun at officers, “which resulted in officers discharging their handguns and an AR-15 patrol rifle.”
After being shot, the video shows the man sit up on the rooftop and someone yells “help” before the video ends. Another video shows him standing up and stumbling before again sitting down and slumping forward.
Police said the man “continued to manipulate the firearm in his hand and refused to follow multiple commands to drop the firearm” before he “eventually became unresponsive.”
About an hour and a half after the shots rang out, heavily armed officers in tactical gear climbed a ladder onto the roof.
Officers in tactical gear just approached the man. He appeared to be unresponsive, and officers could be seen performing chest compressions on him after apparently dragging him away from his weapon. pic.twitter.com/jDUqENzcOJ
— Long Beach Post (@LongBeachPost) July 9, 2022
After dragging him away from his weapon, the officers could be seen performing chest compressions on him. Fire crews soon assessed the man and determined he was dead, police said. Authorities on Sunday identified him as Jaime Rodriguez, 42.
No officers or bystanders were hurt. The victim in the original kidnapping and assault is expected to survive, police said.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Sunday morning with more information from police.