Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old Sacramento man, was fatally shot in his own backyard on Sunday night by police.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the Sacramento Police Department have confirmed that Clark was holding a cellphone that was mistaken for a "tool bar." On Tuesday, a GoFundMe account launched to aid with funeral costs. At the time of publication, $7,500 of the $10,000 goal has been donated.
The explanations of what truly happened that fatal night have been full of inconsistencies, but here's what we do know.
Stephon Clark was killed in the backyard of his south Sacramento home after the police officers responded to a call of a person breaking car windows nearby. Clark shared the home with his grandmother, grandfather and some siblings, according to his 25-year-old brother Stevante Clark.
At 9:18 p.m. Sunday night, officers responded to a call saying that a thin, 6-foot-1 black man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants was hiding in a residential backyard after breaking car windows. Sheriff's deputies circling the area in a helicopter spotted a man in a nearby backyard at about 9:25 p.m. and told police on the ground that he had just shattered a window with a tool bar then ran to the front of that house and looked inside a car.
This is what allegedly lead them to the front yard of Clark's residence in the 7500 block of 29th Street where they spotted him along the side of the house. Instead of stopping and showing his hands, Clark reportedly ran to the back of the property.
From there, officers say he advanced toward them with an object. At first, they claimed it was a gun, but no gun was found at the scene. Then they claimed it was a "tool bar" that could have been used to shatter car windows. But it was his cellphone.
Rest in Power #StephonClark— campylobacter 💀 (@campyWHY) March 21, 2018
Popo need to learn to tell the difference between a cell phone VS a gun--wait no, "toolbar"
Cops thought he was pointing a metal bar at them??? And that it would somehow kill them? jfc
Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother, said it was common for Clark and other guests to enter their home through the backyard due to their faulty doorbell because she and her husband have “poor mobility,” according to the Bee. Thompson said that guests generally knock on the back window and ask her to open the garage door to let them in.
“The only thing that I heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got to the ground,” she told the Bee.
Thompson says she never heard the police issue her grandson any instructions before shooting him and that she was interviewed by cops for hours before she looked outside of the window and saw her grandson bleeding on the ground.
The two officers involved in the shooting then held their position for about five minutes until additional officers arrived before approaching the victim to make any efforts to help him.
1/ #StephonClark was shot in his own backyard holding a cell phone. Sac PD lied that he was holding a crowbar. I'm not up on tech, but never seen a cell that looked even remotely similar to a crowbar. This was not a mistake, this was a LIE to the public. @SacPolice pic.twitter.com/GPqDe3MyiB— McKibben Law (@LawKristina) March 20, 2018
"The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them. Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times," the police department said in a news release. "The involved officers held their position for approximately five minutes, until additional officers arrived. Officers approached the suspect, handcuffed him and began life saving efforts."
Clark was pronounced dead at the scene.
The two officers responsible for Clark's death have been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues. They were wearing body cameras, and footage of the shooting will be released within 30 days.
Clark's death has rightfully caused outrage as activists and community members have expressed their concern. Clark was a father who leaves behind two young sons.
"They're asking, 'Where's Daddy, where's Daddy?" said Salena Manni, the mother of Clark's children. "He was a part of our family. He was our rock."
“@NAACP @NAACP_LDF @CaNaacp this is Stephon Alonzo Clark father of two; Husband and provider for his family gunned down in his grandmothers back yard by @SacPolice he was shot at 9:18 and his family wasn’t even notified until 4am. Please help his family get justice.” pic.twitter.com/IEtDNL6Zw6— 3️⃣ (@g3_ftl) March 19, 2018
All we can hope for at this time is justice, but even justice doesn't make up for the loss of a life.
Rest in power, Stephon.