Mark Matthew Bender, a 35-year-old man, was shot and killed by police following an altercation outside a liquor store in San Bernardino on Thursday night. Police received reports of an armed man jumping on cars outside the King Tut liquor store on Baseline Street near Waterman Avenue at around 11:15 p.m. on Thursday.
When a responding officer arrived at the location and tried to communicate with Bender, he did not follow their commands and then attempted to enter the liquor store, which had people inside, according to police.
The officer tried to restrain Bender and there was a struggle but because of his large size and strength, he was able to overpower the officer, police said in a statement released along with the audio recording of the 911 call and video footage from the body camera worn by the officer.
The suspect then "reached under his shirt and pulled a black handgun from his front right pocket," prompting the officer to produce his weapon and fire four rounds at the suspect, striking him multiple times. Bender was transported to a local hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
The bodycam footage shows the officer approaching Bender in the parking lot of the liquor store with his gun pointed at him.
"Hey man, come here," the officer says.
"Why do you have a gun on me?" Bender asks before walking away.
"Let me see your hands," the officer tells him. Bender briefly raises his hands, then moves them down near his waistline and pockets as he makes his toward the liquor store's entrance.
"Man, I'm going to the store," Bender says. "Don't touch me. Don't touch me."
A struggle ensues but is not visible in the footage. "Get on the ground," the officer can be heard saying. "Stop moving! Stop fighting!," the officer says before multiple shots ring out.
Cellphone Video Confirms Bender Pulled out a Handgun From His Pocket
While the body-camera footage only shows the moments leading up to the deadly physical altercation, cellphone-recorded video shot by a bystander shows the police officer and Bender wrestling on the ground before the officer gets in a standing position, pulls out his firearm and shoots the suspect several times.
Watch the clip below:
Stills from the video confirm that the suspect pulled out a handgun from his pocket while the officer was trying to subdue him. Police said they recovered a 9mm handgun from the scene.
Bender's shooting comes amid intense unrest and protests across the country over police brutality and the killing of people of color, intensified by the death of George Floyd. Dozens of people have now taken to the streets of San Bernardino to protest against Bender's killing.
"You can't justify a murder because he had a gun," said one protester. "He had a gun, if he did, to protect themselves, probably from them. They're the ones doing the damage, they're the ones doing the hurt."