You read that right. This is a good, old fashioned, “can’t make this one up” story.
On an otherwise typical Friday morning outside Planet Fitness in Torrance, California, a shirtless man was, according to witnesses, engaged in a “ritualistic dance” with a snake in one hand and a knife in the other. When police officers ordered him to stop, he made threatening moves in their direction.
“He decided he had enough of all this and he gets up and starts amping himself up, and then turns around and goes walking straight at the officers with no intent to stop as far as I’m concerned,” said witness Brandon Hallock.
After their commands were ignored, the officers shot him with a non-lethal round. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. He got up and began moving toward the officers once again. At that point, the policemen opened fire with real ammo, and the man died shortly after.
Mental illness is sad, and no one should have to die for it. That said, any one of the videos captured by witnesses (several are cut into the news segment below) shows that the cops had only moments to react to an unstable man in a potentially life-threatening situation.
Public service announcement for armed ritual snake handlers: Don’t do it in a public parking lot – or, at least, stop when cops tell you to.
An empty aquarium was found at the crime scene. As far as we know, no snakes were harmed during this defensive gun use.