(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Baton Rouge police officers allegedly saw the butt of a gun in Alton Sterling’s pocket and have said they saw Sterling try to reach for the gun during the altercation that led to his shooting death last week, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in the case.
Blane Salamoni, a four-year veteran, and Howie Lake II, a three-year veteran, both white men, were placed on paid administrative leave after their involvement in the fatal shooting of Sterling, a black man, last Tuesday outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Parts of the shooting were captured on cellphone videos.
According to the affidavit for a search warrant for a video recorder at the convenience store, “while the officers were attempting to subdue” Sterling, they “observed the butt of a gun in the subject’s front pants pocket.”
“When the subject attempted to reach for the gun from his pocket the officers fired their police issued duty weapon at the subject to stop the threat,” the document states.
Sterling was shot several times and died at the scene, police said.
The incident began when police were called in reference to a complaint of a black man who had threatened someone with a gun outside the store, according to the search warrant affidavit. The officers saw Sterling outside the store “fitting the description of the person with the gun,” the affidavit states.
The officers said they told Sterling to put his hands on the hood of a car, but Sterling did not comply with the officers’ commands or the officers’ attempt to restrain him, the document states, and the officers “deployed their BRPD issued tasers.” After the officers allegedly saw Sterling reach for the gun, they fired at him.
The document says detectives need to search the video recorded to further the investigation.
The Baton Rouge Police Department declined to comment to ABC News on the search warrant.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III has recused himself from the investigation, he said Monday, citing a professional relationship with Salamoni’s parents, both high-ranking police officers.
Moore said last week that when the officers involved were interviewed by the case detectives, the two officers “indicated that they feared for their life and that deadly force was necessary and justified.”
The investigation into Sterling’s shooting is being led by the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division.
Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of Sterling’s son Cameron, called Sterling’s death “murder.”
“The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis,” McMillon said, adding that Sterling, “simply tried to earn a living to take care of his children.”
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