A struggle over what turned out to be a replica firearm resulted in a fatal shooting of a 44-year-old San Francisco man by a Daly City police officer last Wednesday, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe.
Wagstaffe provided the first detailed account of the April 7 shooting death of Roger Cornelius Allen, who died at a trauma center after the shooting. Wagstaffe also said that there is no video evidence of what took place and that “Daly City police officers are not presently equipped with body cameras.”
An officer saw three people — two men in the front, including Allen in the front passenger’s seat, and a woman in the back seat — in a parked truck with a damaged rear tire about 2:30 p.m. in the 700 block of Niantic Avenue and stopped to talk to the driver, according to the summary.
A second and a third officer arrived and stood on the passenger side of the truck as the first officer talked to the driver, who was cooperative, Wagstaffe said.
The front passenger door was open and the officers “saw what appeared to be a Glock firearm (handgun) on the lap of passenger Roger Allen,” according to the account. “The officers yelled out there was a gun and Mr. Allen picked the gun up and held it in his hand.”
One of the officers leaned in and grabbed Allen’s hand in an effort to prevent the gun from being fired, Wagstaffe said, and a struggle ensued, with the weapon at one point directed at the officer and driver standing on the other side of the truck, then at the officer struggling with Allen.
When the second officer on the passenger side “saw the gun pointed at the face of the officer struggling with Mr. Allen, he reported he feared that his fellow officer was going to be shot in the face,” Wagstaffe said. “He fired his service handgun at Mr. Allen twice, with one shot striking Mr. Allen in the chest and the other shot missing and lodging inside the vehicle.”
Allen was given emergency aid before he was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he died about 90 minutes later, according to the account.
The suspected handgun “turned out to be a replica handgun that was stamped with the word Glock. It is not a firearm. There was no orange tape around the tip of the gun to show that it was not a real firearm,” Wagstaffe said.
During the struggle, the officer outside the driver’s side “was struck in the forehead by an unidentified small object causing a minor abrasion,” Wagstaffe said.
The Daly City Police Department has the responsibility of releasing of the names of the officers, said Wagstaffe, who expects the investigation to continue for the next two months.
Anyone with information relevant to the case is asked to call the District Attorney’s Office Chief Inspector William Massey at (650) 363-4883.