A Sacramento, Calif., man will probably not be as quick to call 911 in the future, given his knowledge that his call on March 18 led up to the shooting death of Stephon Clark.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Dave Reiling was watching TV in his trailer when he heard the crash of glass breaking. As he looked outside, he saw that two of his trucks’ windows were broken and a man in a hoodie was nearby. And so he called 911 to report the incident.
What happened after is well-known and well-documented.
“It worries me to call 911 because you may get another cop out here and shoot somebody else. They got to get more training in,” Reiling told the Bee.
“It makes me never want to call 911 again,” he added. “They shot an innocent person.”
Police fired 20 rounds at Clark as the 22-year-old father stood in his grandparents’ backyard. The officers who killed Clark have yet to be identified because of threats. Those same officers reportedly feared that Clark had a gun on him, but no weapon was recovered from the scene. Clark had only his cellphone.
Reiling made the call after he’d heard a noise in the street. He then heard another sound much closer to his trailer and went to investigate. That’s when he found his two trucks with their windows broken and the man standing next to the driver’s side of one.
“He busted two of my windows in and he broke the car’s window across the street from me,” Reiling told 911 dispatch in a recording that was released along with police bodycam video.
“He was standing on the driver’s side door looking over the truck at me,” Reiling said. “I got my ball bat and started chasing him down the street.”
The man ran into a neighbor’s backyard and Reiling again called the police, telling the dispatcher that “the dogs are going crazy” in the backyard where he believed the man had fled.
It is still not clear whether Clark was the person Reiling saw prior to the shooting. When asked, Reiling couldn’t answer.
“I can’t tell you that because I didn’t see,” he said.
Of course, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn has said that he believes the suspect in the case to be Clark, but he also said that he could not “say factually it was him yet.”
Reiling stood on the street talking with the dispatcher until a helicopter and two patrol cars arrived on the scene. He was ordered inside. A few minutes later, the gunshots came.
“They shot somebody back there, Stephon, for a cellphone,” Reiling said, noting that he had watched the footage of the shooting.
Reiling didn’t personally know Clark, but noted that he had seen the young father a few times when Clark came to visit his grandparents. He knew some of the other Clark family members better, occasionally repairing their cars when needed.