San Diego police released video footage Monday of officers fatally shooting a 77-year-old man as he appeared to grab a shotgun during a confrontation with them in East County — less than an hour after police say he’d stabbed his business partner to death.
The nearly nine-minute video includes helicopter and body-worn camera footage of the Jan. 17 encounter. Police said Officers Salvador Laurel-Torres and Robert Raynor fatally shot Frank Brower in front of his home in an unincorporated area east of Granite Hills.
Police had gone to the home after identifying Brower as a suspect in the fatal stabbing of Mary Ellen Carter, 66, at Alvarado Pharmacy Services in the College Area.
Brower and Carter co-owned the pharmacy, and homicide Lt. Steve Shebloski said Monday that “financial stress” may have been a factor in the knife attack.
“I can say it appears the pharmacy has been closed for at least a month before this incident,” Shebloski said in an email Monday. “It appears the business was in the process of closing permanently.”
Just before 4 p.m. on Jan 17, police received 911 calls reporting a knife attack at the pharmacy on Reservoir Drive near Alvarado Road. One caller said someone was attacking her co-worker with a knife.
Police said officers arrived to find the door locked but they could see an injured woman inside. They broke in and found she had been stabbed multiple times in her torso.
Paramedics took Carter to a hospital, where she died.
Police identified Brower as the suspected assailant and went to his home on La Cresta Boulevard near Mountain View Road. They also asked the Sheriff’s Department for assistance.
In the video released Monday, a helicopter flies over an SUV backed up near a horse trailer and deputies are heard saying its license plate is a match to the SUV they are seeking.
Brower enters the frame, carrying a clear plastic storage tub and putting it in the backseat. Seconds later, he looks at the helicopter.
The helicopter video shows several officers on the ground use a slow-moving police vehicle as a shield as they approach Brower, who is standing at the open back passenger door on the driver’s side of his vehicle. As officers get closer, they order Brower to stay out of his SUV.
The video shows Raynor, his handgun drawn, shouting to Brower to put his hands up. “Do not reach into the vehicle or you’ll be shot,” Raynor yells. “You’re going to get shot.”
As officers move closer, they continue yelling commands at Brower. One officer warns others that Brower has a rifle.
“Beanbag him,” one officer says. Brower is shot four times with beanbags, each round a few seconds apart.
Brower leans forward into the backseat and starts to pull out what appears to be a long gun. Laurel-Torres opens fire with his rifle and Raynor fires his handgun.
Brower died at the scene.
The end of the video includes a still image of a shotgun on the ground. Police said it was the gun Brower pulled out of the truck, and it was loaded.
Laurel-Torres and Raynor have been employed with the San Diego Police Department for seven years, sheriff’s Lt. Chris Steffen said Friday in a news release. They are currently assigned to the Eastern Division.
Under a countywide protocol, the Sheriff’s Department investigates officer-involved shootings by San Diego police. This marked the first shooting this year by law enforcement officers in the county.
As is standard when officers shoot someone, Laurel-Torres and Raynor were put on administrative assignment until they are cleared to return to full duty, Steffen said.
Authorities asked that anyone with information about the case call the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.