HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — The Orange County Coroner's Officer identified 43-year-old Ronnie Andrew Garcia as the suspect shot and killed Saturday by police in Huntington Beach.
The U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach was underway nearby and the beach was crowded with people.
The incident unfolded south of the pier as the competition was winding down just around 3:15 p.m. Saturday. It was then that officers responded to a call of a man with a gun.
When they arrived, they made several attempts for Garcia to comply. When he didn't, they shot him. Cellphone video captured that moment, with people heard in the background yelling. The man died.
"It was pretty surreal," said Chet Davidson, a witness. "We were right over there in the grass area. We heard the first shots fired [and] wasn't too sure, but everybody was running, everybody was running away from it."
"It was just scary to see the cops, like, kinda pointing their guns at someone - pop, pop, pop, pop - more like 10 or 11 shots," Rhonda Davidson said.
As the surfing competition went into its final day Sunday, officers patrolled the area, but Huntington Beach police said the additional presence was for the event and not connected to Saturday's shooting.
"Never happens ever, like, that we've been here," Davidson said. "We've been coming here for years in the summer, all summer...nothing like that ever. I'm not scared. I mean, obviously, I'm here, but I'm glad there's police presence.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department has taken over the investigation into the officer-involved shooting. The coroner's office said Garcia's residence was unknown.
On Sunday, the City of Huntington Beach released a statement, in part that they "will be providing emotional support services to anyone who may have witnessed, or was in the vicinity, of the officer involved shooting incident that took place Saturday, September 25, at Huntington City Beach."
The public advisory said the support services will be provided in a partnership with Be Well OC, who is offering counseling/support sessions for individuals or businesses in the area who may be struggling or in need of emotional services following Saturday's fatal officer-involved shooting.
Anyone in need of these services is urged to contact Tony Delgado, LCSW, of Be Well OC at 949-749-2301.
The City of Huntington Beach will also be hosting a community meeting in the coming days for members of the public directly impacted by Saturday's event to express their concerns and ask questions related to the incident. Representatives of HBPD, Be Well OC and the city itself will be present. The date, time and location of the meeting will be made available the police department's (@hbpolicedept) Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
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