A man swinging a baseball bat at police and customers at a California Walmart was fatally shot by police over the weekend. The incident occurred Saturday afternoon at a San Leandro, California, Walmart, with officers receiving the first calls at around 3:30 p.m. local time, according to ABC 7. Although officers were dispatched after receiving calls of a robbery, when they arrived at the scene, they discovered a man at the entrance wielding a bat, which he was wildly swinging at those around him.
Video obtained by TMZ, which can be viewed by clicking here, shows the man near the front entrance with the bat, customers around him, many of whom were wearing a face mask due to the coronavirus, attempting to keep their distance. As officers approached the man, he continued to move towards them, causing officers to use their tasers. Towards the end of the clip, the man stumbles backwards before falling to the floor.
"Both officers deployed their tasers which was not successful. After those deployments, one officer fired one shot. The report is he was swinging a bat. We don't know how close he was to the officer," Lt. Ted Henderson of the San Leandro Police Department said. "If there is a taser deployment, there has to be some type of perceived threat and this is an active threat."
In an Instagram post that has since been removed, one customer who was in the store at the time recounted the scene, explaining that the man "was saying he wanted to die before the police even arrived," according to The Mercury News. The poster added that the man "was threatening to kill the door greeter" and "refused" help when others in the store offered it.
"When the police arrived, dude instantly attacked him and wasn't cooperating," the poster alleged. "Officer pulled out his taser and asked him to step back. Dude attacked the officer with the bat and that’s when he shot him with the taser. Dude still attempted to hit the officer after he was already being tased. The officer pulled out his gun and told the guy to get back… When he went to swing, that's when the officer shot him. He was shot 1 time and that’s when he went down. Wasn't much the officer could do In this situation."
The man whom officers fatally shot has since been identified as 33-year-old Steven Taylor of San Leandro. At this time, the investigation is ongoing, with at least 20 people being interviewed. The Walmart location where the incident occurred remains closed, with a Walmart spokesperson writing in a statement, "we appreciate the quick response of local authorities and are thankful no one else was injured. We will continue to assist law enforcement and are referring all requests for information to them."