After a night of protests, D.C. police have released body camera footage showing a D.C. police officer shooting 18-year-old Deon Kay in the chest. The graphic video—taken from the perspective of the shooter, Alexander Alvarez—does show Kay in possession of a gun, but the quick succession of events laid out by police will likely be hard for many to follow.
The video begins around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, with Officer Alvarez sitting on the passenger side of a police cruiser; his bodycam video is on, but the audio is off. According to the Washington Post, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said officers had been watching a live-stream video in which Kay and several others were in a vehicle with weapons.
As Alvarez pulls into the River Hill apartment complex in Southeast where Kay is located, he flips the audio on his body camera as he rushes out of the car. What happens next is a blur.
Watching the video at regular speed, you see Alvarez chasing down Kay, described later in the video as being 5-feet, 4-inches and 100 pounds. He catches up to Kay, pulling up in front of him, and fires a single shot at Kay’s chest, bringing him to the ground.
Police say Kay had a weapon in hand, but that he threw it as—or in the moments before—he got shot. But watching the video at regular speed, it’s hard to detect a gun, and harder still to figure out how and when Kay threw the firearm, which was recovered nearly 100 feet away, across a playground.
A slowed-down still of the video does appear to show a firearm in Kay’s right hand as the officers rush toward him. It also shows him with his back to the officers.
Kay died at a hospital from his wounds.
Protesters marched through portions of Southeast last night demanding Alvarez and Chief Newsham be fired, gathering outside the 7th District police station. On Thursday morning, demonstrators organized in front of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s home, reports Fox 5 DC.
“The officer was trying to take guns off the street,” Bowser said, according to the Post. “He encountered somebody with a gun.” The mayor cautioned protesters to “not let any anger spill over into violence in our city.”
An investigation into the shooting has begun.
It is hard to square the shooting in D.C. with another case that has gone viral on social media this week—that of Jason Michael Mesich, who killed his wife and shot two of his neighbors, one of whom was just a child.
Mesich allegedly shot 12-year-old Makayla and 29-year-old Canisha, both of whom are Black, on Sept. 1 because they were “not good neighbors,” adding that he “hated all children,” reports Minnesota’s local CBS station. The sisters survived the shooting, but Makayla was in critical condition as of Tuesday; Canisha was in serious condition.
The 48-year-old Mesich, who is white, also fired 40 rounds at police before surrendering to officers.
He was apprehended alive.