SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF) – A preliminary autopsy by the Alameda County coroner’s bureau has determined that a baseball-bat wielding man who was fatally shot by police inside a Walmart store in San Leandro on Saturday died from a single gunshot wound to his chest, police said on Tuesday.
The coroner’s bureau also confirmed that 33-year-old Steven Demarco Taylor, who didn’t have a permanent address, didn’t suffer any additional gunshot wounds to his head or back in the shooting at the store at 15555 Hesperian Blvd. at about 3:12 p.m. on Saturday, according to police.
Officers said they shot Taylor because he didn’t comply with their orders to put the baseball bat down and he kept coming toward them even after they fired a Taser stun gun at him, police said.
Attorney S. Lee Merritt, who has offices in Philadelphia and Dallas, said in a Twitter message that he has been retained by Taylor’s family and he believes San Leandro officers engaged in “excessive and unlawful use of force.”
Merritt alleged that the officers didn’t need to shoot Taylor.
He said, “At some point in this exchange the officers’ behavior became criminal, namely when the suspect (Taylor) was disarmed.”
Merritt wrote, “These officers are not only poorly trained to deal with individuals suffering from a mental health crisis, their intentional and repeated application of force, despite the absence of a threat, captured in these recordings (videos of the incident) is sufficient evidence for authorities to issue an arrest warrant for the shooting officers.”
Merritt alleged, “Failure to identify and arrest the shooter unnecessarily exposes the public to a deadly threat.”
The San Leandro Police Department said in its statement that it “remains committed to conducting a thorough investigation” into Taylor’s death and will provide updates in a timely manner.
Police said that in the near future they will release a video statement by Police Chief Jeff Tudor as well as the footage from the body-worn cameras of the officers who were involved in the shooting.
San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter said in a statement, “Like so many of you, my heart aches for the loss of life in our community this weekend. The outcome of this incident was tragic. I offer heartfelt condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Mr. Steven Taylor.”
Cutter said, “The city of San Leandro is committing to investigating this incident thoroughly and transparently. We will share more information with the public as soon as we are able to do so.”
Cutter said separate investigations are being conducted by the San Leandro Police Department and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.