Body cam video shows officers fatally shoot suspect on South Bay freeway


WARNING: The videos in this story show body camera and aerial recordings of police shooting a suspect. Many viewers may find it disturbing.

SAN DIEGO – Authorities Thursday released video of the moment police shot and killed a Whittier man on Interstate 805 in Chula Vista following a pursuit that began in Orange County.

At about 11:40 p.m. on Oct. 3, Santa Ana police attempted to stop a sedan they say was straddling lanes of traffic for the violation and suspicion the driver was under the influence. The driver, 30-year-old Christopher Ulmer, did not yield to officers, so they began chasing him as he headed southbound, police said.

Watch the full analysis video released by authorities below:

California Highway Patrol deputies picked up the chase in San Diego County with assistance from officers from the San Diego Police Department and the department’s police helicopter.

According to authorities, Ulmer stopped his vehicle at about 1:05 a.m. on southbound I-805 near Orange Avenue in Chula Vista. Helicopter video released Thursday shows Ulmer’s sedan stopped in the middle of the freeway. At about 1:14 a.m., the sedan begins driving off again.

Just seconds after the car takes off, a CHP vehicle approaches from the back right side to execute a pit maneuver, spinning Ulmer’s vehicle 180 degrees to face pursuing officers.

Body camera video from San Diego police Sgt. Michael Pidgeon begins with Pidgeon telling Ulmer through his vehicle’s public address system to “roll down your windows, follow instructions and you will not be injured.”

“If you fail to comply with our instructions, you may be bit by a police dog,” Pidgeon said.

Officers can be heard in multiple videos telling Ulmer to put his hands up. Video from Pidgeon and police air support shows Ulmer open the driver’s side door after being spun around and resting his left hand on the top of the door for about 20 seconds.

He then reaches into the car with his right hand, pulling out an unidentified black object and pointing it at officers.

Authorities then opened fire on Ulmer. Video shows him stumbling backwards from his car after the initial shots while appearing to regain his balance. Once back to his feet, officers fired more shots at him until he fell forward onto his stomach on the empty freeway.

Paramedics took Ulmer to a trauma center, where he was pronounced dead. According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, Ulmer’s preliminary cause of death is “multiple gunshot wounds.” The manner of his death is a homicide, the office said.

Six officers from CHP and SDPD discharged firearms during the incident, according to authorities. All officers have been placed on administrative leave. Among them:

  • Pidgeon, a 26-year police veteran
  • SDPD Officer Patrick Harvey, employed for seven years
  • CHP Sgt. John Holm, employed for 22 years
  • CHP officers Pakko Mendez (11 years), Javier Mendoza (seven years) and Lauren Chi (three years)

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